Women's perceptions of home-based exercise performed during adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer
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PURPOSE: To describe women's perceptions of a home-based exercise intervention in which they participated while receiving adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer. METHODS AND SAMPLE: Participants were 8 women who were involved in a home-based exercise program while receiving 24 weeks of adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer. They were asked about their exercise program every 2 weeks by telephone, and completed a feasibility and acceptability questionnaire at the end of the study. The two principal investigators performed a content analysis on the resulting data. KEY RESULTS: Participants highly valued the exercise program. The content analysis resulted in two major categories: exercise challenges and exercise facilitators and strategies. The most common exercise challenges were side effects of chemotherapy, particularly fatigue and pain. The women overcame challenges in many ways, most notably adapting the routine, internal motivation and external support. Their comprehension of breast cancer and its treatment, reinforced by expert advice and resources on exercise, helped them develop successful strategies to maintain the exercise program. CONCLUSIONS: In spite of challenges, women in this study perceived that a customized, flexible, home-based exercise program was beneficial while they were undergoing adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer. Resource material and regular guidance helped them implement strategies to maintain the exercise program.
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