Changes in objectively measured activity behavior among women undergoing breast cancer treatment: Longitudinal cohort study

Cynthia C. Forbes, Melanie Keats, Daniel Rainham, Tallal Younis, Chris M. Blanchard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Activity behaviors of breast cancer survivors (BCSs) during treatment are unlikely to be at levels sufficient enough to gain health benefits. Previous activity research among BCSs has been mainly posttreatment and generally cross-sectional. This study aimed to determine the prevalence and changes in objectively measured moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), light physical activity (LPA), and sedentary behavior (SED) among BCSs undergoing adjuvant/palliative therapy. Methods: Participants completed baseline surveys and wore accelerometers to measure activity during waking hours during treatment and again 6 months later. Hierarchal linear modeling (HLM) was used to determine changes. Results: In total, 77 BCSs participated. Ninety-one percent provided physical activity (PA) data for 3 or more valid days at baseline (T1) and 72% at 6 months (T2); 29% met PA guidelines at T1 and 41% at T2. Daily LPA and SED did not change from T1 to T2 (133 vs 138 minutes; 595 vs 597 minutes). Controlling for body mass index at the intercept, HLM revealed that MVPA significantly increased from T1 to T2 (+5.62; P =.015). Conclusion: An increase in objectively measured total daily MVPA over 6 months was found, at which time, fewer BCSs were currently receiving chemo- or radiotherapy and may theoretically be feeling better. However, fewer T2 measures may bias and artificially inflate the results. Although total MVPA minutes increased at T2, less than half BCSs were meeting guidelines and had high amounts of LPA/SED during treatment, with insignificant change over time (71% at T1; 59% at T2). Practitioner intervention may help reduce SED while increasing LPA and MVPA behavior among those currently undergoing treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-205
Number of pages8
JournalRehabilitation Oncology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • accelerometry
  • adjuvant or palliative therapy
  • longitudinal behavior change
  • observational study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Oncology
  • Oncology(nursing)


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