Effect of exercise on the caloric intake of breast cancer patients undergoing treatment

Braz J Med Biol Res. 2008 Aug;41(8):709-15. doi: 10.1590/s0100-879x2008000800012.


The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of an exercise intervention on the total caloric intake (TCI) of breast cancer patients undergoing treatment. A secondary purpose was to determine whether or not a relationship existed between changes in TCI, body fat composition (%BF), and fatigue during the study, which lasted 6 months. Twenty females recently diagnosed with breast cancer, scheduled to undergo chemotherapy or radiation, were assigned randomly to an experimental (N = 10) or control group (N = 10). Outcome measures included TCI (3-day food diary), %BF (skinfolds), and fatigue (revised Piper Fatigue Scale). Each exercise session was conducted as follows: initial cardiovascular activity (6-12 min), followed by stretching (5-10 min), resistance training (15-30 min), and a cool-down (approximately 8 min). Significant changes in TCI were observed among groups (F1,18 = 8.582; P = 0.009), at treatments 2 and 3, and at the end of the study [experimental (1973 +/- 419), control (1488 +/- 418); experimental (1946 +/- 437), control (1436 +/- 429); experimental (2315 +/- 455), control (1474 +/- 294), respectively]. A significant negative correlation was found (Spearman rho(18) = -0.759; P < 0.001) between TCI and %BF and between TCI and fatigue levels (Spearman rho(18) = -0.541; P = 0.014) at the end of the study. In conclusion, the results of this study suggest that an exercise intervention administered to breast cancer patients undergoing medical treatment may assist in the mitigation of some treatment side effects, including decreased TCI, increased fatigue, and negative changes in body composition.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Composition / physiology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms / rehabilitation*
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy
  • Energy Intake / physiology*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise Test / methods
  • Fatigue / rehabilitation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Endurance / physiology