Journal of Cancer Survivorship

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 148–157 | Cite as

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

  • Rebecca N. Latka
  • Marty Alvarez-Reeves
  • Lisa Cadmus
  • Melinda L. IrwinEmail author



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 



We thank Christian Stoddard, Linda Saucier, Eileen Mierzejewski and Mary O’Neil for their assistance. We are indebted to the participants in the Yale Exercise and Survivorship Study for their dedication. The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Grant support

American Cancer Society (MRSG-04-006-01-CPPB) and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation (BCTR0201916). Supported in part by a General Clinical Research Center grant from the National Center of Research Resources, National Institutes of Health (Grant # M01-RR00125) awarded to Yale University School of Medicine

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors contribution

MLI made substantial contributions to the study conception and design. RL, MAR, LC, and MLI made substantial contributions to the acquisition of data. RL and MLI made substantial contributions to the analysis and interpretation of data. RL and MLI were involved in drafting the manuscript. RL, MLI, LC, and MAR were involved in revising it critically for important intellectual content. RL, MLI, LC, and MAR have given final approval of the version to be published.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rebecca N. Latka
    • 1
  • Marty Alvarez-Reeves
    • 2
  • Lisa Cadmus
    • 3
  • Melinda L. Irwin
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Yale School of Public HealthNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.Dana Farber Cancer InstituteBostonUSA
  3. 3.Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research CenterSeattleUSA
  4. 4.Department of Epidemiology and Public HealthYale School of Public HealthNew HavenUSA

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