THURSDAY, Nov. 17, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Even moderate physical activity is associated with a reduced risk for mortality for breast cancer survivors, according to a study published online Nov. 17 in JAMA Network Open.

Lie Hong Chen, Dr.P.H., from Kaiser Permanente Southern California in Pasadena, and colleagues conducted a cohort study of 315 postmenopausal breast cancer survivors who received their initial diagnosis at least two years earlier. Participants were initially diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer between 1996 and 2012. Using two validated questionnaires, participants were queried about leisure-time physical activity and fatigue.

The researchers found that 45 participants (14.3 percent) died due to any cause during a median follow-up of 8.7 years after baseline, including five who died due to breast cancer. The mortality rates were 12.9, 13.4, and 32.9 per 1,000 person-years for active, moderately active, and insufficiently active participants, respectively. Those who were active or moderately active had a significantly reduced risk for death compared with insufficiently active participants in a multivariable analysis (hazard ratio, 0.42 and 0.40, respectively).

“Our findings further suggest that survivorship care plans should consider incorporating physical activity because even moderate activity may be vital for extending survival as well as health-related quality of life,” the authors write. “Our findings have implications for patient counseling on the benefits of exercise with regard to cancer outcomes, and this protection persists even after considering cancer treatments in the analysis.”

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