Exercise and health: Could exercise help breast cancer patients with how they feel?

Nanette Mutrie, Anna Campbell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The objectives of this study were to determine the functional and psychological benefits of a 12-week supervised group exercise programme during treatment for early stage breast cancer, and to conduct a 6-month follow-up of the programme. The design was a pragmatic randomised controlled prospective open trial with additional qualitative methods to explore participant views. The study was set in three National Health Service oncology clinics in Scotland and community based exercise facilities. The participants were 203 women who entered the study, 177 of whom completed the 6-month follow-up. The intervention was a supervised 12week group exercise programme in addition to usual care and this was compared with usual care. The main outcome measures were: Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy (FACT) questionnaire, Beck depression inventory, positive and negative affect scale, body mass index, 7-day recall of physical activity, 12-minute walk test, and assessment of shoulder mobility. Mixed effects models with adjustment for baseline values, study site, treatment at baseline, and age gave intervention effect estimates (intervention minus control) at 12 weeks of 129 (95 per cent confidence interval 83 to 176) for metres walked in 12 minutes, 182 (75 to 289) for minutes of moderate intensity activity reported in a week, 2.6 (1.6 to 3.7) for shoulder mobility, 2.5 (1.0 to 3.9) for breast cancer specific subscale of quality of life, and 4.0 (1.8 to 6.3) for positive mood. No significant effect was seen for general quality of life (FACT-G), which was the primary outcome. At the 6-month follow-up, most of these effects were maintained and an intervention effect for breast cancer specific quality of life emerged. No adverse effects were noted. It was concluded that supervised group exercise provided functional and psychological benefit after a 12-week intervention and 6 months later. We recommended that clinicians should encourage activity for their patients and that policy makers should consider the inclusion of exercise opportunities in cancer rehabilitation services.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Research Process in Sport, Exercise and Health
Subtitle of host publicationCase Studies of Active Researchers
PublisherTaylor and Francis AS
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9781136455797
ISBN (Print)9780415673433
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


Dive into the research topics of 'Exercise and health: Could exercise help breast cancer patients with how they feel?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this