UNDERSTANDING THE BENEFITS OF, AND PERCEPTIONS OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY FOR THE BREAST CANCER PATIENT AND SURVIVOR IN ORDER TO PROMOTE INCREASED PARTICIPATION
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Participation in physical activity appears to have many physiological and psychological benefits for patients and survivors of breast cancer. Whilst this is the case, breast cancer diagnosis has an inhibitory effect on physical activity levels, such that neither patients, nor survivors, achieve the recommended levels of physical activity. This study serves several purposes: (1) to summarise and review the research carried out by previous studies that use aerobic exercise, resistance exercise, or a combination of these, during or after treatment for breast cancer. A particular focus is placed upon the training methods used, the physical and psychological outcome measures, and the methodological quality of the studies. (2) To summarise and evaluate the extent of information regarding participation in physical activity that is available through public domains. (3) By highlighting the barriers that are frequently reported by breast cancer patients and survivors in research studies, identify national strategies that could be put into place to increase participation in physical activity within this population. This study was a desk-based study, including a literature review, and analysis of existing data and documentation. The strategies identified were supported by evidence found in existing research. A total of 34 studies (19 during treatment, 13 post treatment) were considered eligible for the literature review. The studies ranged in methodological quality as well as training methods used, highlighting the need for continued research in this area with training protocols more in-line with the physical activity guidelines. However, overall, physical activity provided a benefit to participants, but rather than eradicating the symptom, the severity or rate of increase of the symptom was reduced. The public domain offers a wide range of information concerning physical activity, for those affected by cancer, or specifically breast cancer. Patients however, have expressed the value of receiving advice from their health care team, in particular their leading oncologist. Whilst the role that health care professionals in educating their patients is recognised, strategies have been devised that would enable exercise and fitness professionals, with relevant qualifications for the specific needs of the patient, to take on a more active role in the treatment process.
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