Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Breast Cancer News Update: July 7

Today in breast cancer news, we'll highlight the latest news and research on exercise for breast cancer treatment side effects. As always, all news and research can be found on the exercise page of the website.

Exercise mitigates common breast cancer treatment side effects

A July 2 review in Breast Cancer (Tokyo, Japan) examined the recent research on exercise. According to the authors,

Overall, current research evidence indicates that regular participation in physical activity after breast cancer diagnosis may mitigate common side effects of breast cancer adjuvant therapy, including fatigue, depression, impaired quality of life, decreased muscular strength, decreased aerobic capacity, and weight gain.

Interestingly, the authors noted that future research may examine the influence of exercise on the effectiveness of breast cancer treatment.

Individualized exercise and counseling programs have a greater impact on quality of life than group-based programs

A July 1 study in Psychooncology compared the quality of life benefits of individual-based exercise and counseling and group-based exercise and counseling to the usual standard of care. It was a small, early study, but "preliminary results" suggest that a combined exercise and counseling program was feasible and acceptable to breast cancer survivors. Although both the individual and group-based plans improved quality of life, only the individual plan made a statistically significant difference when compared to no intervention at all.

Physical therapy and massage reduces pain and pressure hypersensitivity

A June 23 Clinical Journal of Pain study from Spain found that an 8-week program of physical therapy based strengthening exercise and massage reduced neck and shoulder pain and "widespread pressure hyperalgesia," or hypersensitivity, in breast cancer survivors.

Inconsistency in breast cancer exercise studies

While these studies are interesting and helpful to the extent that they demonstrate the positive effects of exercise, from a scientific standpoint, they may be difficult to replicate at home or in future studies. Basically, we don't always know the "dose" of exercise. What specifically did the patients do, for how long and how often?

A June 10 review in the British Journal of Sports Medicine addressed this problem. None of the 29 studies reviewed by the authors "applied all principles of exercise training" or "reported all components of the exercise prescription." The authors concluded that "[i]ncomplete reporting of the exercise prescription and adherence to the prescription limits the reproducibility of the intervention, and the ability to determine the dose of exercise received by participants."

Today, we've highlighted some of the latest research on exercise for breast cancer treatment side effects. For news and studies on exercise to reduce breast cancer risk, please visit the exercise page of the website.

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