Alexandria, VATwo studies report that exercise and yoga can help maintain and in some cases improve quality of life in women with early-stage breast cancer. The first study found that resistance and aerobic exercise improved physical fitness, self-esteem and body composition, and that resistance exercise improved chemotherapy completion rates. The second study demonstrated that yoga was particularly beneficial for women who were not receiving chemotherapy during the study period. Both studies will be published online September 4 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO).
Resistance and Aerobic Exercise
In the first study, Canadian investigators explored the effects of exercise on quality of life, physical fitness and body composition in women receiving chemotherapy for early-stage breast cancer. This study, the Supervised Trial of Aerobic versus Resistance Training (START) trial, is the largest to date to explore the effects of exercise during chemotherapy and one of the first to evaluate a regimen of resistance exercise.
Researchers divided women into three groups: supervised resistance exercise three times weekly (82 women), supervised aerobic exercise three times weekly (78), and no aerobic or resistance exercise, also known as the usual care group (82). The median duration of chemotherapy and exercise was 17 weeks. Participants were surveyed at the beginning and middle of chemotherapy and up to four weeks after completing treatment.
They found that resistance exercise was better than usual care for improving muscle strength, lean body mass and self-esteem. Aerobic exercise was better than usual care for improving aerobic fitness, self-esteem and body fat percentage. Exercise did not cause lymphedema or other adverse side effects.
Breast cancer patients can exercise while theyre receiving chemotherapy and achieve meaningful benefits in terms of physical fitness, body composition and self-esteem, said lead au
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American Society of Clinical Oncology