Effect of exercise in reducing breast and chest-wall pain in patients with breast cancer: a pilot study
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BACKGROUND: Breast or chest-wall pain (BCP) is prevalent in 20%-50% of breast cancer survivors, and it affects quality of life (QOL). To determine the feasibility and potential efficacy of an exercise program to improve patient QOL and BCP, such a program was offered to breast cancer patients suffering from BCP. METHODS: The study enrolled 10 breast cancer patients with moderate-to-severe BCP at 3-6 months after completion of all adjuvant treatments. These patients participated in a 12-week comprehensive health improvement program (CHIP). Intensity was adjusted to reach 65%-85% of the patient's maximal heart rate. Before the CHIP and at 1 and 6 months after completion of the CHIP, QOL and pain were measured using questionnaires [European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life core and breast cancer modules (QLQ-C30, -BR23) and the McGill Pain Questionnaire short form] completed by the patients. Results were compared with those from case-matched control subjects from another study at McGill University. RESULTS: After the CHIP, patients reported significant and clinically important improvements in QOL and symptoms. At 1 and 6 months post-CHIP, patients in the study felt, on average, better in overall QOL than did historical control subjects. CONCLUSIONS: Our study suggests that patients who experience chronic bcp may benefit from an exercise program. A randomized controlled trial is warranted.
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