A moderate-intensity, self-directed walking program increased walking time and was perceived as informative and motivational among elderly breast cancer patients with joint pain who took an aromatase inhibitor, according to study results presented at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting in San Diego.
“We were interested in seeing if a physical activity program that is evidence-based for reducing joint pain, stiffness and fatigue in adults with arthritis might have similar benefits for women experiencing aromatase inhibitor-associated arthralgia,” Kirsten A. Nyrop, PhD, research associate of Thurston Arthritis Research Center School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, stated in a news release. “We were particularly interested in testing the feasibility and benefits of this program among older breast cancer survivors, because cancer is a disease of aging and physical activity may pose a special challenge for this age group.”
Twenty women aged 65 years and older with joint pain or stiffness and stage I-III breast cancer who were on aromatase inhibitor (AI) therapy tested the Arthritis Foundation’s Walk With Ease (WWE) self-directed walking program for 6 weeks.
By the end of the 6-week period, the number of days walking per week, the number of minutes walking and the total of minutes walking per week all increased, while mean joint pain decreased by 10%, fatigue decreased by 19% and joint stiffness decreased by 32%, according to study results.
Overall, 100% of the women in the walking sample stated they would recommend WWE to other breast cancer survivors experiencing joint pain or stiffness. Researchers also found the women believed they had learned how joint pain or stiffness could be lessened by physical activity and how to safely engage in moderate-intensity physical activity. Ninety percent of the women thought WWE motivated them to become more physically active and taught them how to overcome physical and mental barriers to walking, and 90% were fairly to extremely confident they would continue walking.
“It is important to offer breast cancer survivors physical activity options that are safe, enjoyable and easy to do at home and on their own — with the promise of joint symptom relief that will encourage them to remain physically active in the long run,” Nyrop said.
For more information:
Nyrop KA. Abstract 2091. Presented at: The American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting; Oct. 25-30, 2013; San Diego, Calif.
Disclosure: Nyrop has no relevant financial disclosures.