Community-Based Physical Activity Programs Help to Improve in HRQOL in Underserved Breast Cancer Survivors


Breast cancer survivors who are minorities or medically underserved appear to experience a benefit in health-related quality of life after taking part in a community-based physical activity program.

A community-based physical activity program was shown to provide minority and medically underserved breast cancer survivors with improvements to mental and physical wellbeing, according to a study published in Cancer.

An improvement of mental and physical quality of life from baseline (P <.01) was observed among patients who participated in the program. Notably, patients achieved an improvement in physical functioning, with investigators reporting an increase in ability to do sit-to-stand repetitions from a mean of 12.5 at baseline to 14.9 at follow-up (P <.01). Additionally, patients’ 6-minute walk distance increased from a mean of 428 m at baseline to 470 m at follow-up.

“Although community-based exercise programs for cancer survivors exist in some areas, they are structured exercise programs in which participants are required to visit a gym-like environment and exercise under supervision. The [Active Living After Cancer; ALAC] program is an innovative approach to increasing activity that promotes home-based exercise and encourages lifestyle changes by setting personalized and achievable goals,” investigators wrote.

A total of 427 patients were invited to partake in the program. Investigators reported a recruitment rate of 45%, a completion rate of 74%, and a retention rate of 68%. A total of 34 ALAC groups were launched, 32 of which were completed. Twenty-six groups met at clinics/health care organizations, 5 groups met at community organizations, and 3 groups met at churches. Of the 12 sessions, patients attended a mean of 7.4 sessions. In particular, patients who completed baseline and follow-up assessments attended a mean of 9.4 sessions.

At the 12-week follow-up, 127 patients reported more moderate to vigorous physical activity at 344.6 minutes per week compared with 172.8 minutes per week at baseline. Additionally, a statistically significant improvement in the physical domain was noted from 45.2 at baseline to 47.5 at follow-up (P <.01). Similar benefit was noted in the mental domain from 48.3 at baseline to 49.8 at follow-up (P <.01).

For those who completed the program, 73% were able to identify at least 2 community resources for survivors of breast cancer, and 96% were able to recognize a minimum of 2 benefits from physical activity. In order to increase activity, the majority of patients utilized behavioral strategies such as setting goals (68%), self-monitoring (84%), self-rewarding (64%), friends and family support (71%), and problem solving (64%). Of these 3 points, 83% of patients implemented at least 2 of them.

Of the patients who partook in the program, 98% were satisfied, 97% said the program helped them to be more physically active, 92% felt better physically, and 83% felt better emotionally. It was also reported that 98% of breast cancer survivors who participated said that they would recommend the ALAC program to other survivors.


Tami-Maury IM, Liao Y, Rangel ML, et al. Active living after cancer: adaptation and evaluation of a community-based physical activity program for minority and medically underserved breast cancer survivors. Cancer. Published online September 23, 2021. doi:10.1002/cncr.33904

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