Exercise should be prescribed as part of routine care for breast cancer patients after they have finished treatment, researchers have said,
A large new study has found that exercise improves quality of life among patients.
But academics said that more needs to be done to find out which types of exercise would benefit the most.
And the amount of exercise which reaps the most benefit is yet to be determined, they added.
The new study, published in the journal JNCI Cancer Spectrum, evaluated all previous studies which have examined the impact exercise has on the quality of life of women with breast cancer.
The analysis, part of the World Cancer Research Fund International’s Global Cancer Update Programme, included data on 14,554 breast cancer patients from 79 studies.
Experts from Imperial College London found a “small but statistically significant” positive effect of physical activity on the quality of life of breast cancer patients.
Dr Doris Chan, study co-author from Imperial College London, said: “The findings from this review support the need for physical activity being routinely incorporated into clinical care for women living with and beyond breast cancer to improve their quality of life.”
Dr Panagiota Mitrou, director of research and innovation at World Cancer Research Fund, said: “Women are living longer after a diagnosis of breast cancer than ever before, due to earlier detection and improved treatment.
“It is crucial that as well as living longer, women have a good quality of life.
“This study has important implications for clinical settings and for guiding future research in this area.”
In a separate analysis, presented at the 2022 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, researchers reported on the findings of the Trial Assigning Individualized Options for Treatment (Rx).
After a 12-year follow-up the study confirmed that chemotherapy has no benefit for a large proportion of women with early-stage breast cancer.
And a longer follow-up revealed there was also a higher risk of early recurrence in Black women.
The study also suggested there was a higher risk of developing a new breast cancer, or other cancer, than having a recurrence of the original cancer.