New study: exercise reduces pain in breast cancer patients

Breast cancer treatment can really be debilitating for women.

The disease itself it horrible, but the treatment (chemo, radiation and surgery) is a source of major discomfort for patients for months and sometimes beyond.

This is why researchers are always looking for ways to try to alleviate some of the pain associated with this disease and its treatment.

While there are no guaranteed solutions, there is a promising piece of news coming out of a new research study from Federal University of Maranhão in Brazil.

The researchers wanted to know whether a regular exercise routine has an impact on pain in breast cancer patients.

So they took a group of breast cancer patients (ages 30-59) undergoing treatment (chemo and radiation) and split them into 2 groups.

Group 1: standard hospital protocol.

Group 2: exercise regime that consists of the following: 3x per week of exercising (cardio & strength training) and 2x per week of flexibility (similar to yoga).

The results are really promising:

After 12 weeks (3 months) of following this protocol, Group 2 patients experienced a significant decrease in “total pain”, “pain intensity”, and the extent to which pain interfered in daily life compared to Group 1.

In addition, there was a significant increase in VO2max (ability of blood to carry oxygen to the muscles, which is critical for recovery and fitness), as well as an increase in strength and flexibility.

Will such protocols work for other types of cancer? We need more research to confirm this, but I don’t see why not.

Link to the study.