A breast cancer diagnosis reduced exercise in women below that of national recommended guidelines, with black women particularly susceptible, a study found.
Phase 3 of the Carolina Breast Cancer Study assessed pre- and post-diagnosis physical activity levels in 1,735 women aged 20 to 74 years who were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer between 2008 and 2011 in 44 counties of North Carolina.
Results appeared online at CANCER.
Only 35% of study participants met current physical activity guidelines after diagnosis with breast cancer, the study reported. A decrease in activity after diagnosis was reported by 59% of patients, with the average woman reducing activity by 15 metabolic equivalent task (MET) hours (95% CI, 12-19 hours), which equals about 5 hours per week of brisk walking.
When compared with white women, African American women were less likely to meet national physical activity guidelines after diagnosis (odds ratio, 1.38; 95% CI, 1.01 to 1.88) and reported less weekly postdiagnosis physical activity (12 MET hours vs 14 MET hours; P=0.13). Treatment was found to be significantly associated with postdiagnosis activity in black women (P<0.01).
The Department of Health and Human Services, as well as the American Cancer Society, recommends that adults engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity each week for general health benefits and for chronic disease prevention and management.
“Medical care providers should discuss the role physical activity plays in improving breast cancer outcomes with their patients, the lead author said in a press release.