Impact of post-radiotherapy exercise on women with breast cancer: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials
Qian Shen, Hongchun Yang
Department of Rehabilitation, The second Affiliated hospital of Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou, China
To determine the effect of post-radiotherapy exercise on quality of life, fatigue, pain, depression, and other outcomes for women with breast cancer.
Medline, Embase, Scopus, and Cochrane electronic databases were searched (up to August 2019) for relevant studies. Studies were included if they were randomized controlled trials of the effect of post-radiotherapy exercise on the above outcomes in women with breast cancer. Fixed- or random-effects meta-analyses were performed to pool standard mean differences.
Data were extracted from 13 randomized controlled trials; a total of 1,306 patients. Overall quality of life and physical functioning scores were increased via post-radiotherapy exercise (0. 28 in QoL and 0. 27 in physical function). Risks of developing fatigue, pain, and depression were lower in exercise than control groups. There were no differences in the change in emotional function, social function, and sleep disturbance between exercise and control groups.
Post-radiotherapy exercise appears to be tolerated and effective for patients with breast cancer. Physicians and other clinicians should encourage patients to exercise after radiotherapy for breast cancer, in order to achieve a better outcome with regards to QoL, physical functioning, fatigue, pain, and depression. Further research is needed to explore which exercise strategies are effective.
It was still debatable with regards to the efficacy of post-radiotherapy exercise on clinical outcomes for breast cancer. The increase in overall QoL and physical function scores was obviously driven by post-radiotherapy exercise. The risk of fatigue, pain, depression was lower with exercise than with control. But there was no difference in the variation of emotional function, social function, sleep disturbances between exercise and control groups. It suggests the physicians and other clinicians should encourage patients to exercise after radiotherapy for breast cancer, in order to achieve a better prognosis
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