BACKGROUND: Adjuvant treatment for breast cancer may result in long-lasting, adverse emotional and physical side effects, and reduce quality of life (QOL). This pilot study examined the effects of a home-based walking program on QOL and fatigue in early stage breast cancer survivors and whether changes in walking behavior were associated with changes in outcomes.
METHODS: Participants (n = 32) were randomized to a 12-week home-based walking intervention plus brief telephone counseling (n = 20) or a wait-list control group (n = 12). Self-reported fatigue, QOL, and walking were assessed at baseline and 12-weeks. Results are presented as effect sizes.
RESULTS: Participants in the intervention had improvements in a majority of fatigue and QOL outcomes, whereas the control group had no change or worsened in many; effect sizes were generally in the small to medium range. Changes in fatigue/QOL outcomes were associated with changes in walking behavior, with effects generally in the small to medium range.
CONCLUSION: Home-based physical activity (walking) programs may be an appropriate avenue for alleviating the adverse side effects that often accompany adjuvant treatment for breast cancer. These programs have potential for widespread dissemination, which may have considerable impact on the quality of life of women recently completing breast cancer treatment.
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