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Posted by on Mar 31, 2019 in Breast cancer | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This study investigated the effectiveness of exercise therapy to treat joint pain in patients with breast cancer (BC) treated with aromatase inhibitors (AIs).

They found that the overall quality of life was improved after 12 months of exercise therapy in these patients. 

Some background

Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women. Many of these patients have a type of tumor that grows in response to female hormones such as estrogen and progesterone. Aromatase inhibitors (AIs) are used to treat this type of tumors. AI treatment can last for up to 10 years. AIs are effective at preventing recurrence of breast cancer. AIs are also associated with joint pain (arthralgia). Long-term joint pain can negatively affect patients' quality of life.

Doctors are keen for patients to take AIs as they are very effective. Improving the quality of life is important for patients with joint pain caused by AI treatment. Exercise therapy may be beneficial in improving quality of life in former breast cancer survivors. 

Methods & findings

This study included 121 breast cancer survivors receiving AIs. All women had at least mild joint pain. Participants were randomly assigned to either exercise therapy or usual care. Exercise therapy consisted of gym-based supervised exercise. This included 150 minutes of aerobic exercise and 2 strength-training sessions per week. Usual care was normal daily activity. The study lasted 12 months. Quality of life was measured at 6 and 12 months. 

At 12 months, exercise therapy participants had a greater improvement in fatigue. They also had greater improvements in physical function. Mental and social function was also improved in exercise therapy participants. Improvements were seen also in bodily pain scores. The effect of exercise therapy on these quality of life measurements was stronger at 12 months than at 6 months.

The bottom line

The authors concluded that overall quality of life was improved after 12 months of exercise therapy in women taking AIs with joint pain.

The fine print

The number of patients in this study was relatively small. Further larger studies are needed.

What’s next?

If you have any concerns regarding pain after breast cancer treatment, please discuss this with your doctor. 

Published By :


Date :

Mar 06, 2019

Original Title :

Endocrine-related quality of life in a randomized trial of exercise on aromatase inhibitor-induced arthralgias in breast cancer survivors.

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