Journal of Cancer Survivorship

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 148-157

First online:

Adherence to a randomized controlled trial of aerobic exercise in breast cancer survivors: the Yale exercise and survivorship study

  • Rebecca N. LatkaAffiliated withYale School of Public Health
  • , Marty Alvarez-ReevesAffiliated withDana Farber Cancer Institute
  • , Lisa CadmusAffiliated withFred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
  • , Melinda L. IrwinAffiliated withYale School of Public HealthDepartment of Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale School of Public Health Email author 

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To examine predictors of exercise adherence in breast cancer survivors.


Seventy-five breast cancer survivors were randomly assigned to exercise (n = 37) or usual care (n = 38). Demographic, prognostic, physiologic, and psychosocial information was collected at baseline and 6 months. The exercise goal was 30 min of exercise 5 days/week for 6 months.


Women randomized to exercise participated in moderate-intensity recreational exercise for 123 ± 52 min/week (81% of the prescribed 150 min/week) over 6 months. Baseline variables associated with better adherence were lower body mass index (BMI), smaller waist circumference, higher amounts of physical activity 6 months prior to enrollment, being in the preparation vs. contemplation Stage of Change and higher FACT-B breast cancer subscale score. After adjusting for these variables, lower BMI and higher Stage of Change continued to be associated with better adherence (p < 0.05).


Future studies of exercise and breast cancer prognosis should target obese women for participation, as well as women just beginning to contemplate participation and its benefits after a cancer diagnosis.


Physical activity Fitness Survival Recurrence Obesity Weight Behavior Diet