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Keywords:

  • breast cancer;
  • exercise;
  • logistic regression;
  • oncology;
  • physical activity;
  • walking

Abstract

Objectives

Physical activity (PA) is increasingly discussed as a means to achieve both physical and psychological benefits for breast cancer patients and survivors. However, little is known about activity-specific PA behavior following diagnosis. Our objectives were to describe sports and active transportation in the course of breast cancer and to identify factors associated with these activities.

Methods

We used data from a German cohort study including 1067 postmenopausal breast cancer survivors aged 50–75 years. Data were collected about walking and bicycling for transportation purposes and sports before diagnosis, during therapy, and 1 year after surgery. Associations between these activities and clinical, behavioral, and social characteristics were analyzed with logistic regression.

Results

The proportions of physically active women decreased significantly during therapy compared with before diagnosis (walking: 75.1% vs. 89.7%; bicycling: 19.3% vs. 56.5%; sports: 14.8% vs. 64.5%; all p < 0.001). Calisthenics, swimming, and walking for exercise were the most frequent types of sport. Chemotherapy/radiotherapy was negatively associated with sports (odds ratio [OR]: 0.35 [0.17–0.73]) but positively associated with walking during therapy (OR: 2.08 [1.04–4.15]). Although sociodemographic factors showed weak associations with PA, participation in rehabilitation increased the likelihood for bicycling (OR: 1.48 [1.06–2.09]) and sports (OR: 1.88 [1.38–2.58]) 1 year after surgery.

Conclusions

The majority of women stopped exercising and bicycling during breast cancer therapy. Interventions promoting in particular moderate activities after breast cancer diagnosis are required for this population. Increasing participation in rehabilitation might help to increase the proportion of women who bicycle and engage in sports after breast cancer diagnosis. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.