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Exercise Habit Prior to Breast Cancer Chemo May Aid Cognition

Adherence to physical activity guidelines throughout chemotherapy was associated with better self-reported cognition

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WEDNESDAY, Sept. 8, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Doing more physical activity before undergoing chemotherapy and adhering to national physical activity guidelines during chemotherapy are associated with better cognition over time among patients with breast cancer, according to a study published online Aug. 18 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Elizabeth A. Salerno, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and colleagues evaluated patterns of physical activity before (T1), immediately after (T2), and six months following (T3) chemotherapy in patients with breast cancer and the association between physical activity and cognitive function. The analysis included 580 patients with stage I to IIIC breast cancer and 363 age-matched, cancer-free controls.

The researchers found that one-third of patients met national physical activity guidelines at T1, 21 percent at T2, and 37 percent at T3. The declines in physical activity from T1 to T2 were significant in patients versus controls. Patients meeting guidelines at T1 had better objectively measured cognitive scores over time. Greater moderate-to-vigorous physical activity at the previous time point was significantly associated with better cognitive trajectories. In addition, adherence to physical activity guidelines throughout chemotherapy was associated with better self-reported cognition.

"These findings contribute to the growing body of evidence highlighting the importance of promoting physical activity as early as possible across the continuum of cancer care," Salerno said in a statement.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical and medical companies.

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