Survival rates increased by exercise?


Question from Steph: I know there have been studies done showing the effects of exercise on survival rates in women with Stage I, II, or III breast cancer. I'm a survivor with Stage IV breast cancer, and I'm assuming the same exercise would be very beneficial to me (I have my doctor's okay) but I was wondering if any studies had been done on survival rates or quality of life for Stage IV breast cancer patients. Thank you.
Answers - Julie Gralow, M.D. With respect to improving survival in Stage IV breast cancer, I know of no studies that have looked at it. I don't know how to answer that. With respect to the other benefits RE: quality of life, absolutely that has been studied in all stages and there have been benefits with respect to anxiety and sleep patterns. I'm talking Stage IV as well as other stages, and with respect to other stages, fatigue has been studied. Some studies suggest less nausea and pain with exercise. So there are lots of reasons to do it, even in a metastatic setting where I can't promise it will increase survival, but it will make you feel better along the way.
Miriam Nelson My sense is that we actually haven't had good trials with Stage IV breast cancer and exercise in terms of survival. In order to do these types of trials, you need large numbers of people and they're very expensive, so there's not a lot of research in this area. So it's not that we looked at it and it didn't help; it's that we haven't looked at it yet. I think there is every reason to continue exercising.

On Wednesday, January 18, 2006, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Physical Activity and Breast Cancer. Miriam Nelson, Ph.D., Julie Gralow, M.D., and moderator Judith Sachs answered your questions about the many issues related to physical activity and breast cancer.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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