• breast cancer;
  • survivorship;
  • exercise training;
  • cardiopulmonary function;
  • fatigue



Cancer treatments have serious physiological and psychological side effects in cancer survivors. This investigation examined cardiopulmonary function and fatigue in breast cancer survivors during and after treatment by using similar exercise assessments, prescriptions, individualized interventions, and reassessments.


The study included 113 women diagnosed with breast cancer. Participants were grouped according to whether they participated in an individualized prescriptive exercise program during cancer treatment (DTm) or after cancer treatment (FTm). After a comprehensive screening and medical examination, cardiovascular endurance, pulmonary function, and fatigue were assessed, which led to the development of an individualized 6-month exercise prescription and exercise intervention. Repeated-measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) and analyses of covariance (ANCOVA) were used to compare the effectiveness of the intervention and differences between groups.


Cardiopulmonary function (systolic blood pressure, time on treadmill) improved in the DTm group (P < .05), whereas the FTm group showed reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure and resting heart rate (P < .05) with concurrent increases in percentage of predicted FVC, % of predicted FEV1, predicted VO2max, and time on treadmill (P < .05). Psychologically, the DTm group showed reductions in behavioral, sensory, and total fatigue (P < .05), whereas the FTm group showed reductions in behavioral, affective, sensory, cognitive/mood, and total fatigue (P < .05).


The current study suggested that moderate intensity, individualized, prescriptive exercise maintains or improves cardiovascular and pulmonary function with concomitant reductions in fatigue during and after cancer treatment. However, it is critical that exercise be individualized to specific needs of the cancer survivor to prevent exacerbation of cancer treatment toxicities. Cancer 2007; 110:918–25. © 2007 American Cancer Society.