Older women who take aromatase inhibitor (AI) therapy as part of their breast cancer treatment may be able to walk their way to decreased joint pain, according to a recent study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Results of the study were announced in a press release issued in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology.
The study focused on 30 women aged 65-87 whose treatment included the use of an AI. AI treatment often produces joint pain or stiffness-a side-effect that results in a 20%-32% discontinuation rate. In the study, the women were placed on the Arthritis Foundation's 6-week Walk With Ease physical activity program and interviewed before and after implementation.
Researchers found that in addition to increasing walk frequency and duration, the women reported a 19% drop in fatigue, a 10% decrease in pain, and a 32% reduction in joint stiffness. Of the group, 90% reported increased motivation to increase physical activity and expressed confidence that they would continue to walk.
The findings echo APTA's understanding of the important role that activity should play in the lives of cancer survivors. The association offers continuing education on physical therapy for cancer survivors, and visitors to APTA's website can view a video on collaborative care and breast cancer rehabilitation. Additionally, the role of the physical therapist in cancer survivorship was the focus of an article in the July 2013 edition of PT in Motion magazine.
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