Breast cancer: physical exercise cuts fatigue, improves physical functioning

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Takeaway
  • A physical exercise intervention reduces fatigue and improves physical functioning in patients with breast cancer, according to a meta-analysis.
Why this matters
  • Up to 99% of all patients with breast cancer suffer from fatigue during adjuvant chemotherapy that impairs physical functioning and QoL.
Study design
  • Meta-analysis of 25 randomized controlled trials (n=3418) that met eligibility criteria after search on Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, AMED, and PEDro.
  • Funding: None disclosed.
Key results
  • A physical exercise intervention increases physical functioning (standardized mean difference [SMD]=0.27; 95% CI, 0.13-0.41) and decreases fatigue (SMD=−0.32; 95% CI, −0.49 to −0.14) independent of when the intervention is given.
  • Somewhat greater improvements in physical function and fatigue occurred when the intervention was given after adjuvant treatment.
  • Benefits for both physical function and fatigue lasted to 6-mo follow-up.
Limitation
  • Heterogeneity across primary studies.