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SABCS: Exercise Eases Aromatase Inhibitor-Induced Arthralgia
Survivors experience greater decrease in worst joint pain scores, joint pain severity with exercise

THURSDAY, Dec. 12, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- For breast cancer survivors experiencing aromatase inhibitor (AI)-induced arthralgia, participating in an exercise intervention is beneficial, according to a study presented at the annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, held from Dec. 10 to 14 in San Antonio.

Melinda L. Irwin, Ph.D., M.P.H., from Yale University in New Haven, Conn., and colleagues conducted a randomized study involving 121 postmenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer who were taking an AI and experienced joint pain (more than 3 out of 10 on the worst joint pain item of the Brief Pain Inventory-Short Form). The women were randomized to either exercise (61 women; 150 minutes/week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise and twice-weekly supervised resistance exercise sessions) or usual care (60 women).

The researchers found that women randomized to exercise experienced a significantly greater decrease in the worst joint pain score at 12 months compared with those randomized to usual care (20 versus 3 percent decrease; P = 0.017). Significant decreases were also seen in joint pain severity (P = 0.025) and joint pain-related interference (P = 0.005) in the exercise versus usual-care group. Favorable effects were noted in body weight and cardiorespiratory fitness in the exercise intervention (P = 0.0057 and 0.024, respectively).

"These results are a promising first step in developing clinical interventions that can improve AI-associated joint pain and, in turn, AI adherence, breast cancer survival, and quality of life," Irwin said in a statement.

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