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Effect of Post-Diagnosis Exercise on Depression Symptoms, Physical Functioning and Mortality in Breast Cancer Survivors: A Systematic Review

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posted on 27.06.2022, 14:48 authored by Alexander Woodman

SPARC 2022 Poster Number 1


Women with breast cancer at stages I to III often experience the long-term physical and psychosocial effects of cancer and its treatment, including pain, fatigue, lymphedema, psychological disorders, anxiety, and depression after treatment. The objective of the current systematic review was to evaluate the effects of post-diagnosis exercises on depression, physical functioning, and mortality in breast cancer survivors. The search for eligible articles was conducted through scientific databases from 1974 to 2020. Following the exclusion procedure, 26 articles yielded for final analysis. Findings of research showed statistically significant improvements on levels of depression, following the exercise intervention, suggesting that post-diagnosis physical activity leads to a decrease in depression scores. Overall, post-diagnosis exercise led to a 37% reduction in the rate of breast cancer-specific mortality. The all-cause mortality rate was decreased by 39% with the inclusion of moderate physical activity as the part of daily routine. The overall effect of physical activity was also statistically significant. There was a considerable degree of clinical heterogeneity between studies regarding the mode, intensity, frequency, and duration of exercise, and the length of the intervention period with high statistical heterogeneity present for depression. There was a strong consensus among patients and clinicians that physical activity has a positive effect on the quality of life of patients after diagnosis. This meta-analysis also included studies looking into dietary intervention in addition to exercise, as the combination of these interventions showed a different effect from exercise alone. This holistic research approach recognised the need to raise awareness of the benefits, quality of life assessment, and inclusive programmes to ensure sustained increases in physical activity, healthy eating, and community engagement among people with cancer and cancer survivors.  

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