Breast cancer patients should exercise to ease drug-related joint pain
Washington: Women being treated with breast cancer drugs known as aromatase inhibitors could ease the joint pain associated with the drugs by engaging in moderate daily exercise, according to a study.
The study, scheduled for presentation Thursday, Dec. 12, at 10:00 a.m., CT in San Antonio, Texas, involved 121 postmenopausal women who were taking aromatase inhibitors for breast cancer and who rated their joint pain as mild or greater on a standard pain-evaluation questionnaire.
Sixty-one of them were randomly assigned to participate in two supervised strength training sessions a week and to engage in an average of 150 minutes of aerobic exercise a week. The others followed their normal daily activities.
After a year, joint pain scores decreased by 20 percent among the women in the exercise group and by three percent in the other group. The severity of joint pain also decreased significantly more in those who exercised than in those who didn't, as did the degree to which pain interfered with their lives.
Study's senior author, Jennifer Ligibel, MD, of the Susan F. Smith Center for Women's Cancers at Dana-Farber, said that exercise offers an attractive option for patients who want to continue taking these drugs but who are burdened by their side effects.