Navigation Links
Workouts a Boon for Breast Cancer Patients

Exercise, yoga improve quality of life, even chemotherapy compliance, studies find

THURSDAY, Sept. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Exercise may be the last thing breast cancer patients want to do, especially if they're fatigued. But workouts can improve quality of life, boost self-esteem during a difficult time, and even help women get through their chemotherapy treatments on schedule, two new studies find.

Previously, numerous studies had found that exercise can help prevent cancers. "A newer area is looking at it on the post-diagnosis side," said Kerry Courneya, a professor and Canada research chair in physical activity and cancer at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.

Courneya led one of the new studies, in which he found that regular exercise helped women who survived early-stage breast cancer to improve muscle strength, self-esteem, body mass, fitness, and reduce their body fat.

He recruited 242 women with breast cancer, average age 49, who were beginning their chemotherapy regimen. They were assigned to one of three groups: 82 to a resistance-training exercise group, 78 to an aerobic exercise group and the other 82 to "usual care," in which they were asked not to initiate an exercise program but were offered a program after the study ended.

The exercise groups worked out under supervision for one hour three times a week for 17 weeks. "They did this while undergoing chemotherapy," Courneya said.

"Our concern initially was that exercise might interfere with their ability to complete the treatment," Courneya said. "The concern among nurses and doctors was that patients would be too drained" after workouts.

The opposite turned out to be true. "The most novel finding we had was, those who did the weight [resistance] training actually increased their ability to complete chemotherapy on time," he said. "It was an unexpected finding."

Courneya said 78 percent of those in the resistance group finished 85 percent or more of their recommended chemotherapy doses, as did 74.4 percent of those in the aerobic exercise group, compared to just 65.9 percent in the usual care group.

Exactly why the exercisers were better at chemotherapy compliance isn't known, but Courneya said workouts may boost white blood cell counts. "If white blood cell counts fall during chemo, the chemotherapy sometimes has to be delayed or the amount of drug given reduced," he explained.

Both exercise groups also reported improvements in their self-esteem. "And that can be an important issue while undergoing chemotherapy because of hair loss and other concerns," Courneya said.

There were other benefits to exercise. "In the aerobic group, we prevented fitness declines. The resistance group increased strength. The aerobic exercise group prevented fat gain. The usual care group gained two pounds of fat and no muscle. The aerobic group did not put on fat. The resistance group added two pounds of lean body mass," he said.

Yoga provides benefits, too, according to Alyson B. Moadel, an assistant professor of epidemiology and population health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, who led the second study. Her team compared several quality-of-life measures among 84 women with early stage breast cancer who participated in yoga classes weekly for 12 weeks. They were measured against 44 women who didn't do yoga. About half of the women underwent chemotherapy or radiation treatment during the study period, while the others either had finished those treatments or did not need them.

The researchers found that yoga had pronounced benefits for those not receiving chemotherapy. "A once-per-week, gentle-seated yoga program can have significant benefits for breast cancer survivors who are not on chemotherapy, in the areas of emotional well-being and mood, and overall quality of life," she said.

Moadel speculated that those receiving chemotherapy may need more intense yoga to reap the benefits.

"Other studies have found that yoga is associated with improved mood and overall quality of life in patients with cancer," she said. "Our study is the first to examine yoga with an ethnically diverse population, the majority of whom were African-American and Hispanic."

Both studies were published online Sept. 4 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Cheryl Rock, a professor of nutrition at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, said the new research makes sense. "The biggest problem is convincing people to ignore that voice that says, 'I am too tired to exercise.'"

"It's very counter-intuitive," she said of the findings. "There is a huge amount of medical literature on the general population linking exercise with improved mood," she said. And exercise can especially help cancer patients going through chemotherapy. "Chemo is not only physically stressful but psychologically stressful," she said.

Cancer patients considering exercise should talk to their doctor first, she said.

More information

To learn more about exercise during cancer treatment, visit the American Cancer Society.

SOURCES: Kerry Courneya, Ph.D., professor and Canada research chair in physical activity and cancer, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada; Alyson Moadel, Ph.D., assistant professor of epidemiology and population health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York City; Cheryl Rock, Ph.D., R.D., professor of nutrition, University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine; Sept. 4, 2007, Journal of Clinical Oncology, online

Copyright©2007 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Oxygen Consumption During Workouts Could Indicate Heart Problems
2. Short Workouts May Not Prevent Weight Gain And Diseases
3. Consensus on "Combination Therapy" for Breast Cancer
4. Breast cancer treatment to be determined by gene test
5. Ductal lavage may detect early breast cancer
6. Breast Feeding prevents obesity later on in life
7. Exclusive breast-feeding advised for six months in infants recommends World Health Organization
8. Breast milk is essential
9. Micro-camera provides new breast imaging technique
10. Breast Cancer Surgery Causes Psychological problems
11. Breast cancer evidence
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... philanthropic seniors, is resulting in a way for homeless people to have a ... have launched a new initiative whereby they are repurposing plastic bags into sleeping ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Many people know of the common symptoms of low thyroid ... skin. But many people who find their cholesterol levels and weight are creeping up ... especially if they don’t have any of the other symptoms. , Thyroid hormone plays ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... for Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC), as well as raising public awareness of the ... they need it—presented a third donation of $35,000 to bolster progress at the ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Since its launch in ... involving adult stem cell therapies to patients with chronic degenerative medical conditions. Now, ... a Registered Trademark (RTM). , Organizations are required to hold a registered trademark ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Students and parents have something to ... of the Create Real Impact awards. California Casualty is proud to support ... tide of distracted and reckless driving, the number one killer of young drivers. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... Israel , November 25, 2015 ... "New Investors"), pursuant to which BioLight and the New ... IOPtima Ltd. subsidiary ("IOPtima") via a private placement. The ... of its innovative IOPtimate™ system used in the treatment ... approval pathway process for the IOPtimate™ system with the ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 25, 2015  Mindray Medical International ... MR ), a leading developer, manufacturer ... today announced that it will hold ... shareholders at the Company,s Hong Kong office (FLAT/RM ... Edward West Road, Mongkok KL, Hong Kong) ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... November 25, 2015 Developmental, commercial, ... boosting the profitability of pharmaceutical products, says GBI ... and regulatory/legal strategies all play a key role ... GBI Research . --> Developmental, ... key role in boosting the profitability of pharmaceutical products, ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: