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Group Exercise Aids Quality of Life for Breast Cancer

Exercise performed in a group setting improves both the physical and mental wellbeing of people diagnosed with breast cancer, finds a new study.

The performance of physical exercise in addition to traditional psychotherapy or social support groups appears to add to the quality of life for patients.

The study is published in the British Medical Journal.

Study authors report that breast cancer is the most common occurring cancer among women in the UK. Treatment for cancer, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, can badly affect quality of life.

However, current cancer rehabilitation programs are mainly based on psychotherapy or social support, and do not generally deal with the physical problems encountered by patients.

Researchers from Scotland set out to determine if group exercise programs could prove beneficial to women who were having treatment for early stage breast cancer.

Over 200 women took part in the study. They were split into two separate groups; the first (control group) received their usual care, whilst the second group received their usual care plus were invited to take part in a 12 week program of exercise sessions.

Participants in the second group were encouraged to attend two classes – led by trained exercise specialists – and undertake one additional exercise session at home each week.

Following the 12 week session, the researchers analyzed the physical and psychological wellbeing of the participants by measuring a number of factors, such as levels of depression, quality of life, mood, shoulder mobility, walking distances and weekly levels of physical activity. These factors were measured after 12 weeks and six months later.

Participants in the second group had better outcomes on both a physical and psychological level than those who had not taken part in the exercise program, both at the 12 week and six month assessments. Also, after six months those who had exercised had made fewer visits to their GP, and spent fewer nights in hospital, than the participants in the control group.

The researchers say that the benefits experienced by the women may have been caused by the exercise itself or by the group experience, or a combination of both. They conclude that clinicians should encourage activity during cancer treatment for patients, and policy makers should consider including opportunities for exercise in cancer rehabilitation services.

Source: British Medical Journal

Group Exercise Aids Quality of Life for Breast Cancer

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2016). Group Exercise Aids Quality of Life for Breast Cancer. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 12, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2007/02/16/group-exercise-aids-quality-of-life-for-breast-cancer/631.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 27 Jun 2016
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 27 Jun 2016
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.