Breast Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

Does Exercise Improve Outcomes in Patients Treated for High-Risk Breast Cancer?

By: Melissa Steele-Ogus
Posted: Thursday, August 20, 2020

Although the benefits of physical activity are well known in cancer survivors, little is known about its relationship to recurrence. DELCaP, a lifestyle and prognosis study conducted by researchers at the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Buffalo, New York, examined new aspects of the relationship between exercise and breast cancer. The study results were published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

“When considering activity from before diagnosis and after treatment, we found that patients meeting the minimum guidelines at both time points experienced significantly reduced hazards of disease recurrence and mortality—55% and 68%, respectively,” said lead study author Rikki A. Cannioto, PhD, EdD, of Roswell Park, in an institutional press release.

Mortality was decreased when time points were grouped in each activity category: low (hazard ratio = 0.41), moderate (hazard ratio = 0.42), and high (hazard ratio = 0.31). A statistically significantly reduced recurrence rate was found in patients who met the minimum guidelines both before and 1 year after their diagnosis (hazard ratio = 0.59) as well as decreased mortality (hazard ratio = 0.51); this trend was even stronger 2 years after diagnosis.

“These findings have important implications in the clinical oncology setting because they suggest a cancer diagnosis may serve as an impetus for increasing physical activity in some patients, and among these patients, beginning an exercise program after treatment resulted in a survival advantage,” concluded Dr. Cannioto.

Disclosure: For full disclosure of the study authors, visit

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