Current Breast Cancer Reports

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 193–204

Physical Activity After Breast Cancer: Effect on Survival and Patient-Reported Outcomes

  • Darren R. Brenner
  • Heather K. Neilson
  • Kerry S. Courneya
  • Christine M. Friedenreich
Psycho-Oncology and Supportive Care (P. Butow, Section Editor)


Here we discuss ongoing studies and recently published evidence on the effect of physical activity for women previously diagnosed with breast cancer. Generally consistent evidence was found for beneficial effects of physical activity on breast cancer survival across 21 observational studies and one phase II exploratory trial. An increasing number of exercise trials are investigating biological mediators of these effects. Substantial evidence exists of benefits to patient-reported outcomes and health-related fitness but important questions remain, including: the optimum type, dose, and timing of physical activity to be done during and post-treatment; whether late-stage and/or metastatic patients can also benefit; and how well treatment-related complications can be alleviated. Large prospective cohort studies will be informative, ideally using accelerometer measurements and assessment of sedentary behavior. Despite gaps in knowledge, there is sufficient evidence regarding feasibility, safety, and efficacy to recommend physical activity as a complementary adjuvant therapy for breast cancer.


Physical activity Sedentary behavior Breast cancer Survivorship Quality of life Biological markers Mortality Controlled clinical trials Patient-reported outcomes Health-related fitness 


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Darren R. Brenner
    • 1
  • Heather K. Neilson
    • 1
  • Kerry S. Courneya
    • 2
  • Christine M. Friedenreich
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Population Health Research, CancerControl AlbertaAlberta Health ServicesCalgaryCanada
  2. 2.Faculty of Physical Education and RecreationUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  3. 3.Department of Oncology, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  4. 4.Department of Community Health Sciences, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

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