A randomized trial of physical activity for cognitive functioning in breast cancer survivors: Rationale and study design of I Can! Improving Cognition After Cancer

Sheri J. Hartman, Lauren S. Weiner, Loki Natarajan, Dorothy D. Sears, Barton W. Palmer, Barbara Parker, Tim Ahles, Melinda L. Irwin, Kaylene Au

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Difficulties with cognition are extremely common among breast cancer survivors and can significantly impact quality of life, daily functioning, and ability to return to work. One promising intervention is increasing physical activity, as it has been effective in improving cognition in non-cancer populations. Few physical activity intervention trials with cognition outcomes have included cancer survivors. This project builds upon our previous work indicating that increased physical activity can improve objectively measured processing speed and self-reported cognition among breast cancer survivors. Methods: The I Can! study will examine whether a physical activity intervention improves cognition among 250 post-treatment breast cancer survivors (Stages I-III, <5 years post-treatment) who are reporting cognitive difficulties. This 2-arm randomized controlled trial comparing a 6-month physical activity intervention (Exercise Group) to a health & wellness attention-comparison condition (Health & Wellness Group) will examine intervention effects on cognition (at 3 and 6 months) and maintenance of effects at 12 months. The primary aim is to investigate the impact of exercise on objectively measured processing speed and self-reported cognition. Secondary aims are to investigate maintenance of cognitive changes and examine candidate biological mechanisms and psychological mediators. Conclusion: The I Can! study will contribute to the scientific, public health, and survivorship intervention literature by providing new information on the impact of physical activity for cognitive impairment in breast cancer survivors. Findings from this study will inform guidelines for physical activity to improve the lives of millions of breast cancer survivors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106289
JournalContemporary Clinical Trials
Volume102
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2021

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • DNA methylation
  • Exercise
  • Neurocognitive
  • Survivorship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)

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