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J Cancer Surviv. 2012 Jun;6(2):172-81. doi: 10.1007/s11764-011-0208-4. Epub 2011 Dec 10.

A randomized trial of exercise on well-being and function following breast cancer surgery: the RESTORE trial.

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Department of Public Health Sciences, College of Medicine, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, 600 Centerview Drive, Suite 2200, P.O. Box 855, Hershey, PA 17033-0855, USA.



This study aimed to determine the effect of a moderate, tailored exercise program on health-related quality of life, physical function, and arm volume in women receiving treatment for nonmetastatic breast cancer.


Women who were within 4-12 weeks of surgery for stage I-III breast cancer were randomized to center-based exercise and lymphedema education intervention or patient education. Functional assessment of cancer therapy-breast cancer (FACT-B), 6-min walk, and arm volume were performed at 3-month intervals through 18 months. Repeated measures analysis of covariance was used to model the total meters walked over time, FACT-B scores, and arm volume. Models were adjusted for baseline measurement, baseline affected arm volume, number of nodes removed, age, self-reported symptoms, baseline SF-12 mental and physical component scores, visit, and treatment group.


Of the recruited 104 women, 82 completed all 18 months. Mean age (range) was 53.6 (32-82) years; 88% were Caucasian; 45% were employed full time; 44% were overweight; and 28% obese. Approximately, 46% had breast-conserving surgery; 79% had axillary node dissection; 59% received chemotherapy; and 64% received radiation. The intervention resulted in an average increase of 34.3 ml (SD = 12.8) versus patient education (p = 0.01). Changes in FACT-B scores and arm volumes were not significantly different.


With this early exercise intervention after breast cancer diagnosis, a significant improvement was achieved in physical function, with no decline in health-related quality of life or detrimental effect on arm volume.


Starting a supervised exercise regimen that is tailored to an individual's strength and stamina within 3 months following breast cancer surgery appears safe and may hasten improvements in physical functioning.

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