Physical activity and breast cancer survival

Breast Cancer Res. 2009;11(5):106. doi: 10.1186/bcr2351.


Physical activity improves quality of life after a breast cancer diagnosis, and a beneficial effect on survival would be particularly welcome. Four observational studies have now reported decreased total mortality among physically active women with breast cancer; the two largest have also reported decreased breast cancer specific mortality. The estrogen pathway and the insulin pathway are two potential mechanisms by which physical activity could affect breast cancer survival. Randomized trials are ongoing but trials of lifestyle factors are notoriously challenging to perform. Women with breast cancer have little to lose and may possibly gain from moderate exercise.

Publication types

  • Editorial

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms* / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms* / mortality
  • Breast Neoplasms* / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Motor Activity*
  • Quality of Life
  • United States / epidemiology