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Breast cancer patients should exercise as part of their routine care after finishing treatment, researchers say.
A major new study has found that exercise improves quality of life in patients.
But academics say more needs to be done to find out which types of exercise will be most beneficial.
And the amount of exercise that produces the greatest benefit has yet to be determined, they added.
The new study, published in the journal JNCI Cancer Spectrum, evaluated all previous studies that examined the effect of exercise on quality of life in women with breast cancer.
The analysis, part of World Cancer Research Fund International’s Global Cancer Update programme, included data on 14,554 breast cancer patients from 79 studies.
Experts from Imperial College London found a “small but statistically significant” positive effect of physical activity on the quality of life of breast cancer patients.
Study co-author Dr Doris Chan, from Imperial College London, said: “The findings of this review support the need for regular physical activity for women living with and without breast cancer to improve their quality of life.”
Dr Panagiota Mitru, director of research and innovation at the World Cancer Research Fund, said: “Women are living longer than ever after a breast cancer diagnosis, thanks to earlier detection and better treatment.
“It is important that women live longer as well as have a better quality of life.
“This study has important implications for clinical settings and for the conduct of future research in this area.”
In a separate analysis, presented at the 2022 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, researchers reported on the results of trials assigning individualized options for treatment (Rx).
After a 12-year follow-up, the study confirmed that there was no benefit to chemotherapy for a large proportion of women with early-stage breast cancer.
And longer follow-up showed that black women also had a higher risk of early recurrence.
The study also suggested that the risk of developing a new breast cancer or another cancer was greater than that of a recurrence of the original cancer.