Psychological and fitness changes associated with exercise participation among women with breast cancer

Psychooncology. 2003 Mar;12(2):118-26. doi: 10.1002/pon.618.


Exercise participation has been shown to improve cardiovascular fitness and reduce psychological distress among women receiving chemotherapy and/or radiation. The purpose of this pilot study was to examine the changes in distress and body image, and fitness following exercise participation among 24 women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer within the previous 3 years. The women were randomly assigned to participate in a 12-week supervised aerobic exercise program in a hospital setting or a wait-list control group. Assessments of distress and body image were conducted at pre- and post-treatment. Data showed that the women in the exercise group improved significantly in body image (Physical Condition and Weight Concerns subscales) vs control group participants at post-treatment. Reductions in distress were also noted in the exercise group, but these were nonsignificant. At post-treatment, there were modest improvements in fitness in the exercise group.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Body Image*
  • Breast Neoplasms / complications
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Program Evaluation
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control
  • Surveys and Questionnaires