Purpose: The aim of the current study was to describe and compare endocrine therapy–related symptoms and quality of life in female cancer survivors taking aromatase inhibitors, tamoxifen, and no endocrine therapy, and to evaluate the effect of an exercise intervention on these symptoms and quality of life. Design: Randomized controlled trial. An aerobic resistance exercise intervention group was compared with a home-based exercise control group over 1 year. The exercise intervention was supervised for the first 6 months, followed by 6 unsupervised months. Methods: Perimenopausal and early postmenopausal female cancer survivors within 3 years of completing primary or adjuvant chemotherapy were selected. A total of 154 women were enrolled in the study. Type of endocrine or hormonal therapy was documented. Symptoms were measured by the Breast Cancer Prevention Trial Symptom Checklist and the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Endocrine Subscale. Quality of life was measured by the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General. Data were collected at baseline, and at 6 and 12 months. Findings: Participants generally had mild symptom distress. There was no difference in symptoms by endocrine therapy group or by exercise group. Participants taking aromatase inhibitors in the aerobic resistance exercise intervention group reported significant improvement in social, family, and functional well-being and better quality of life compared to those in the control group at 6 months but not at 12 months. Conclusions: Findings were similar to those of previous large clinical trials in that no significant differences were found for endocrine therapy–related symptoms and quality of life by type of endocrine therapy taken. However, exercise may improve quality of life outcomes for women taking aromatase inhibitors. Clinical Relevance: Exercise has established efficacy for patient outcomes such as cardiovascular fitness, fatigue, weight management, and quality of life and may provide better quality of life for women who take aromatase inhibitors as adjuvant therapy.
- Adult health/adult care
- intervention research/experimental research
- physical activity/physical fitness/exercise
- symptom management