April 22, 2009

Breast cancer patients exercise less

Although exercise has been shown to help breast cancer patients, many women's exercise activity wanes, U.S. researchers said.

Lead author Charles Emery of Ohio State University in Columbus said that in the five-year study, the women as a group increased their physical activity during the first 18 months after diagnosis and treatment, but then their physical activity gradually declined over the remaining three-and-a-half years.

Depressive symptoms can include low mood, low energy, sleep difficulty and a lack of interest in, or withdrawal from, normal activities.

The study also found that poor physical health was associated with less physical activity over all five years. On the other hand, family support appeared to slow the decline in physical activity over the last 42 months of the study.

The study, published in the journal Psycho-Oncology, reinforced the idea that sticking to an exercise plan is not easy, even for those expecting physical activity to aid in recovery from a serious illness.

These data suggest that the presence of a very significant life-threatening health problem was not enough to encourage maintenance of an exercise program, Emery said.