A pilot study of a supervised group exercise programme as a rehabilitation treatment for women with breast cancer receiving adjuvant treatment

Eur J Oncol Nurs. 2005 Mar;9(1):56-63. doi: 10.1016/j.ejon.2004.03.007.


This pilot study examined whether exercise as an adjunctive rehabilitation therapy could benefit women who have early stage breast cancer and are currently receiving chemotherapy/radiotherapy. The study was designed as a randomised controlled trial (RCT). Physical functioning, fatigue and Quality of Life (QoL) outcomes were evaluated pre and post a 12-week intervention. The results showed that after 12 weeks the women who participated in the exercise programme (n = 12) displayed significantly higher levels of physical functioning and reported higher QoL scores than the controls (n = 10). Changes in fatigue and satisfaction with life favoured the intervention group but did not reach significance. These results are encouraging and suggest that a structured group exercise programme during adjuvant treatment is a safe, well tolerated and effective way of providing physical and psychological health benefits to women during treatment for early stage breast cancer. Since this was a pilot study the numbers did not allow appropriately powered analyses of some variables of interest and favoured relatively young and socio-economically advantaged women. Future studies need to address these issues and determine if these short-term benefits can be sustained.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Breast Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Breast Neoplasms / rehabilitation*
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Quality of Life
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome