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Structured Exercise Improves Quality of Life in Metastatic Breast Cancer Patients: Insights from the PREFERABLE-EFFECT Trial

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Ayanna Amadi
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Structured Exercise Improves Quality of Life in Metastatic Breast Cancer Patients: Insights from the PREFERABLE-EFFECT Trial

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Living with metastatic breast cancer can be challenging, but recent findings suggest that a structured exercise program can significantly improve patients' quality of life. The PREFERABLE-EFFECT trial, recently presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, underlined the potential benefits of a nine-month exercise regimen for patients with metastatic breast cancer.

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The PREFERABLE-EFFECT Trial: An Overview

The PREFERABLE-EFFECT trial enrolled 357 patients and randomly assigned them to supervised exercise sessions for nine months. The exercise program aimed to assess the impact on patients' quality of life, fatigue levels, and overall physical fitness. According to the trial's results, the participants who engaged in the exercise intervention reported higher health-related quality of life (HR-QoL) scores and lower fatigue levels than the control group, who did not participate in the exercise regimen. Furthermore, the exercise group also displayed improved physical fitness.

The Impact of Exercise on Quality of Life and Fatigue

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Anne May, the study presenter, emphasized the importance of optimizing the quality of life for patients with metastatic disease. The ability to function and enjoy personal, social, and working life is enhanced when the quality of life is improved. A significant finding from the PREFERABLE-EFFECT trial was the reduction in fatigue reported by patients who participated in the structured exercise program. Fatigue is a common side effect of cancer and its treatments, and its reduction can greatly improve a patient's daily life.

Long-term Compliance and Advocacy

The nine-month duration of the intervention was not only effective in improving patients' quality of life and reducing fatigue, but it may have also encouraged long-term compliance. The study team is urging healthcare professionals to recommend structured, supervised exercise as a routine part of metastatic breast cancer treatment. Furthermore, they are calling on policymakers and insurance companies to ensure cost coverage for such beneficial exercise programs.

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The Need for Further Study

While the PREFERABLE-EFFECT trial's findings are promising, there are limitations that need to be addressed in future research. The inability to blind participants may have influenced the results. Additionally, other studies, such as one assessing the effects of a 12-week resistance training program on breast cancer survivors, recommend further exploration to understand the full range of benefits exercise can provide to cancer patients.

The Broader Perspective: IDEA Clinical Trial

In a related development, the IDEA clinical trial suggested a potential shift in breast cancer treatment for younger postmenopausal patients. The trial indicated that patients with stage I hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer might safely opt out of adjuvant radiotherapy following breast-conserving surgery, provided they attain low recurrence scores on a genetic test. While this approach requires long-term follow-up for confirmation, it represents another promising avenue for improving the quality of life for breast cancer patients.

In conclusion, the PREFERABLE-EFFECT trial has shone a light on the potential benefits of structured exercise for patients with metastatic breast cancer. By incorporating such programs into routine care, healthcare professionals can help their patients lead more fulfilling lives while battling this challenging disease.

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