SYDNEY - Physical activity can improve the life of breast cancer survivors, besides helping them cope with diagnosis and recovery after treatment.
Sheree Harrison from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) School of Public health interviewed almost 300 breast cancer survivors over a year and recorded how much physical activity they engaged in, as well as how they saw their quality of life.
‘The main finding was that women under 50 who were recovering from breast cancer and were consistently physically active were more likely to report better emotional well-being and have a higher overall quality of life than those who were less active or sedentary,’ Harrison said.
‘Young women are more likely to have difficulties adjusting to the disease after being diagnosed, and this was really helped by being physically active. It also reduced physical side affects like pain and fatigue.
‘One interesting thing was that it did not make a difference whether the physical activity was vigorous or moderate - the findings simply showed that exercising in general helped women cope with their recovery and improved their emotional well-being,’ she said.
‘An unexpected finding was that we didn’t see the same pattern with women aged over 50 years; their quality of life was consistently high regardless of their level of exercise. Although exercise would greatly benefit any pre-existing co-morbidities these women may have such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol.’
While exercise helped many women in their path to recovery, it was found in the study that over half were either sedentary or not getting enough exercise, said a QUT release.