Patient preference and timing for exercise in breast cancer care

Kathleen Sturgeon, Carla Fisher, Gina McShea, Susan Kruse Sullivan, Dahlia Sataloff, Kathryn Schmitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Exercise is recommended following cancer diagnosis and may be particularly valuable for women receiving cardiotoxic chemotherapy treatments. We investigated breast cancer patient preference on exercise programming in a prospective manner and retrospectively assessed length of time between diagnosis and chemotherapy initiation. Sixty-seven newly diagnosed breast cancer patients responded to questions regarding exercise programming related to cancer treatment and surveys on current activity level. Additionally, a retrospective chart review was conducted on 500 random breast cancer patients. Age, cancer stage, treatment, and treatment dates were extracted. Women were interested in, or, absolutely wanted to, participate in an exercise program before treatment (76.2%). There was uncertainty regarding willingness to delay treatment; 49.2% were willing to delay their treatment if the program was recommended by their doctors, 41.8% would not, and 9.0% were too unsure to respond. However, women would like to hear information about an exercise program for cancer patients when they are first diagnosed (61.9%). We observed that 64.6% of women were below recommended levels of physical activity; yet, current activity was not associated with an interest in an exercise program or willingness to delay treatment. Retrospectively, we observed an average interval of 72.6 ± 34.6 days between cancer diagnosis and initiation of anthracycline-based chemotherapy treatment, with younger women with more advanced cancer receiving anthracycline-based chemotherapy. Based on patient preference and length of time to chemotherapy initiation, a reasonable next step to promote the current recommendations for exercise could be to integrate exercise into breast cancer care earlier in treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)507-514
Number of pages8
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology


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