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J Cancer Surviv. 2012 Dec;6(4):420-30. doi: 10.1007/s11764-012-0233-y. Epub 2012 Jul 27.

Five-year follow-up of participants in a randomised controlled trial showing benefits from exercise for breast cancer survivors during adjuvant treatment. Are there lasting effects?

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School of Psychological Sciences and Health, University of Strathclyde, 76 Southbrae Drive, Glasgow G13 1PP, UK.



In an earlier randomised controlled trial, we showed that early stage breast cancer patients who received a supervised exercise programme, with discussion of behaviour change techniques, had psychological and functional benefits 6 months after the intervention. The purpose of this study was to determine if benefits observed at 6 months persisted 18 and 60 months later.


Women who were in the original trial were contacted at 18 and 60 months after intervention. Original measures were repeated.


Of the 148 women from the original study who agreed to be contacted again, 114 attended for follow-up at 18 months and 87 at 60 months. Women in the original intervention group reported more leisure time physical activity and more positive moods at 60 months than women in the original control group. Irrespective of original group allocation, women who were more active consistently reported lower levels of depression and increased quality of life compared to those who were less active.


We have shown that there are lasting benefits to an exercise intervention delivered during treatment to breast cancer survivors. Regular activity should be encouraged for women with early stage breast cancer as this can have lasting implications for physical and psychological functioning.

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