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Exercise Behaviors in Breast Cancer Survivors in Taiwan

Hsu, Hsin-Tien PhD; Huang, Chiun-Sheng MD; Liu, Yi PhD; Dodd, Marylin J. PhD, FAAN; Juan, Chiung-Hui RN; Lai, Yu-Hung MD; Guo, Su-Er PhD, RN

doi: 10.1097/NCC.0b013e3182479984
Articles: Online Only

Background: Although exercise is a recommended rehabilitation intervention for many breast cancer survivors, exercise activity after cancer treatment is rarely reported in this patient group in Taiwan.

Objective: The objectives of this study were to analyze trends in exercise activity in breast cancer survivors in Taiwan.

Interventions/Methods: This prospective, longitudinal study with repeated-measures design used standardized instruments to measure trends in exercise activity but performed no treatments or interventions.

Results: Of the 196 breast cancer survivors who participated in this study, 39% regularly engaged in light-to-moderate intensity exercise for approximately 15 minutes per day throughout the 6-month period of the study. Of these, 40% indicated that their exercise stage had increased, and only 13% indicated that their exercise stage had decreased. The most common exercise activities were walking, hiking, calisthenics, folk dancing, chi kung and tai chi. Although most women reported that exercise made them feel better both physically and emotionally, most said that they exercised mainly for health maintenance reasons.

Conclusions: Frequency, duration, and intensity of exercise significantly increased during the 6-month study but did not reach the recommended levels. Most women believed that physical activity enhanced their recovery from cancer treatment.

Implications for Practice: When planning patient education interventions for breast cancer survivors, healthcare professionals should consider not only the role of exercise in breast cancer recovery, but also trends in exercise behavior among breast cancer survivors. The findings of this study contribute to the literature on exercise trends in breast cancer survivors.

Author Affiliations: College of Nursing, Kaohsiung Medical University, Republic of China (Drs Hsu and Liu); Department of Surgery, National Taiwan University Hospital and National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipei, Republic of China (Dr Huang); School of Nursing, University of California, San Francisco (Dr Dodd); Cancer Center, Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, Republic of China (Ms Juan); Department of Ophthalmology and School of Medicine, College of Medicine, Department of Ophthalmology, Kaohsiung Medical University, Republic of China (Dr Lai); and Department of Nursing, Chronic Diseases and Health Promotion Research Center, Chang Gung University of Science and Technology (Dr Guo), Republic of China.

This study was supported by the Department of Defense of the US Army (DAMD17–03-1-0521) and Excellence for Cancer Research Center Grant (no. DOH101-TD-C-111-002, Department of Health, Executive Yuan, Taiwan, ROC).

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence: Su-Er Guo, PhD, RN, Department of Nursing, Chronic Diseases and Health Promotion Research Center, Chang Gung University of Science and Technology, 2, Chia-Pu Rd, West Sec Pu-tz, Chiayi, Republic of China 613 (suerguo@hotmail.com).

Accepted for publication December 20, 2011.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.