Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Support Care Cancer. 2014 Apr;22(4):989-97. doi: 10.1007/s00520-013-2064-4. Epub 2013 Nov 27.

Testing the 'teachable moment' premise: does physical activity increase in the early survivorship phase?

Author information

  • 1School of Medicine, Trinity Centre for Health Science, St. James's Hospital, St. James's Street, Dublin, 8, Ireland,



Little is known about objectively measured physical activity during the early survivorship period. This study measured physical activity, fatigue, and quality of life (QOL) in breast cancer patients over the first year after completion of chemotherapy and compared results to a matched non-cancer group.


Data was obtained from 24 breast cancer subjects (mean ± SD) 50.9 ± 12.8 years at time points of 6 weeks, 6 months and 1 year after completion of adjuvant chemotherapy and from 20 matched women. The following variables were assessed, physical activity (RT3 accelerometer and International Physical Activity Questionnaire), quality-of-life (EORTC QLQ C-30) and fatigue (Brief Fatigue Inventory).


At 6 weeks after completion of chemotherapy, high levels of sedentary behaviour were found (6.8 ± 1.9 h sedentary per day), which did not improve, and was no different to the comparison group (6.5 ± 1.4 h). Less light activity was performed in the cancer cohort compared to the comparison group (p = 0.003). Body mass index (BMI) increased significantly in the cancer cohort (p = 0.015) and 1 year after chemotherapy finished only 13% (n = 3) had a BMI <25, while the comparable value was 45% (n = 9) in the non-cancer group. The QOL domain of cognitive function improved over the first 6 months (p = 0.034) but physical functioning declined (p = 0.008) over this time period. Fatigue did not change, and at the 1-year time point, 38% of the cancer patients (n = 11) reported high levels of fatigue.


This study highlighted the unchanging sedentary behaviour and weight gain of breast cancer survivors during the first year after completion of chemotherapy, which may inform rehabilitation models in this population.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Springer
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk