Although studies have shown that physically active breast cancer survivors have lower all-cause mortality, the association between change in physical activity from before to after diagnosis and mortality is not clear. We examined associations among pre- and postdiagnosis physical activity, change in pre- to postdiagnosis physical activity, and all-cause and breast cancer - specific mortality in postmenopausal women. A longitudinal study of 4,643 women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer after entry into the Women's Health Initiative study of postmenopausal women. Physical activity from recreation and walking was determined at baseline (prediagnosis) and after diagnosis (assessed at the 3 or 6 years post-baseline visit). Women participating in 9 MET-h/wk or more (∼3 h/wk of fast walking) of physical activity before diagnosis had a lower all-cause mortality (HR = 0.61; 95% CI, 0.44-0.87; P = 0.01) compared with inactive women in multivariable adjusted analyses. Women participating in ≥9 or more MET-h/wk of physical activity after diagnosis had lower breast cancer mortality (HR = 0.61; 95% CI, 0.35-0.99; P = 0.049) and lower all-cause mortality (HR = 0.54; 95% CI, 0.38-0.79; P < 0.01). Women who increased or maintained physical activity of 9 or more MET-h/wk after diagnosis had lower all-cause mortality (HR = 0.67; 95% CI, 0.46-0.96) even if they were inactive before diagnosis. High levels of physical activity may improve survival in postmenopausal women with breast cancer, even among those reporting low physical activity prior to diagnosis. Women diagnosed with breast cancer should be encouraged to initiate and maintain a program of physical activity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research