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Physical activity and risk of recurrence and mortality in breast cancer survivors: findings from the LACE study

INTRODUCTION: Identifying modifiable factors that reduce the risk of recurrence and improve survival in breast cancer survivors is a pressing concern. The purpose of this study was to examine the association of physical activity following diagnosis and treatment with the risk of breast cancer recurrence and mortality and all-cause mortality in women with early-stage breast cancer. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The sample consisted of 1,970 women from the Life After Cancer Epidemiology study, a prospective investigation of behavioral risk factors and health outcomes. Self-reported frequency and duration of work-related, household and caregiving, recreational, and transportation-related activities during the six months prior to enrollment were assessed. Outcomes were ascertained from electronic or paper medical charts. Hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals were estimated from delayed entry Cox proportional hazards models. RESULTS: Although age-adjusted results suggested that higher levels of physical activity were associated with reduced risk of recurrence and breast cancer mortality (P for trend = 0.05 and 0.07, respectively for highest versus lowest level of hours per week of moderate physical activity), these associations were attenuated after adjustment for prognostic factors and other confounding variables (P for trend = 0.36 and 0.26). In contrast, a statistically significant protective association between physical activity and all-cause mortality remained in multivariable analyses (hazard ratio, 0.66; 95% confidence interval, 0.42-1.03; P for trend = 0.04). CONCLUSIONS: These findings do not support a protective effect of physical activity on breast cancer recurrence or mortality but do suggest that regular physical activity is beneficial for breast cancer survivors in terms of total mortality.

Authors: Sternfeld B; Weltzien E; Quesenberry CP Jr; Castillo AL; Kwan M; Slattery ML; Caan BJ

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2009 Jan;18(1):87-95.

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