, Volume 143, Issue 2, pp 219-226
Date: 14 Dec 2013

The effects of exercise on cardiovascular outcomes before, during, and after treatment for breast cancer

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Abstract

Asymptomatic cardiotoxicity following breast cancer treatment is a significant issue for many patients, as these patients typically face an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Exercise has well established benefits to improve and maintain cardiovascular function across patients with and without CVD. However, there is a dearth of information on the effects of exercise on cardiovascular outcomes in breast cancer patients. While pre-clinical studies support the use of exercise in mitigating cardiotoxicity, only one human study has specifically investigated cardiac function following an exercise intervention during chemotherapy treatment. No significant differences were observed between groups, which highlights the unidentified role of exercise in altering the risk of cardiotoxicity in breast cancer patients. Issues such as establishing the optimal timing, type, and intensity of an exercise program before, during, or after oncologic treatment for breast cancer are unclear. CVD risk and incidence increase in breast cancer survivors post therapy, and CVD is the number one killer of women in the United States. Thus, there is an increasing need to define the efficacy of exercise as a non-pharmacologic intervention in this growing population.