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Longitudinal assessment of the impact of adapted physical activity on upper limb disability and quality of life in breast cancer survivors from an Italian cohort



The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a specific adapted physical activity (APA) protocol on upper limb disability and quality of life in breast cancer survivors and to assess longitudinally the possible role of APA on long-term benefits.


Breast cancer survivors from an Italian cohort were assessed by fitness tests (shoulder-arm mobility, range of motion, and back flexibility) before and after 8-week APA. Quality of life and back and surgical shoulder pain intensity were evaluated by Short Form-12 and numerical rating scale questionnaires, respectively. At 1.5-year post-APA follow-up, survivors were evaluated as at baseline/post-APA to assess long-term effects.


A statistically significant improvement in shoulder-arm mobility, pain perception, and quality of life was observed in breast cancer survivors after APA intervention. Longitudinal analyses indicated an overall decrease in the achieved benefits at 1.5-year post-APA.


The survivorship phase of breast cancer requires a multidisciplinary collaboration involving either the cancer-care medical team or APA professionals to manage psychophysical outcomes. A specific APA protocol may represent an effective countermeasure to reduce post-treatment upper limb disability and improve the quality of life in breast cancer survivors. Participation in structured APA protocols should be maintained over time to preserve the achieved benefits.

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The authors are deeply grateful to all the women who participated in this study.

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Correspondence to Mirca Marini.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the Helsinki declaration.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Mirandola, D., Miccinesi, G., Muraca, M.G. et al. Longitudinal assessment of the impact of adapted physical activity on upper limb disability and quality of life in breast cancer survivors from an Italian cohort. Support Care Cancer 26, 329–332 (2018).

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  • Adapted physical activity
  • Breast cancer
  • Survivorship
  • Physical function
  • Quality of life