Exercise Could Reduce Cognition Problems in Breast Cancer Patients

Perceived memory problems could be linked to stress rather that treatment in breast cancer survivors.

A recent study found that physical activity can reduce memory problems in patients with breast cancer.

The researchers suggest that perceived memory problems are associated with stress in survivors of breast cancer, and not because of the treatment itself, according to a study published by Psycho-Oncology. The analysis included 1477 patients who already completed their breast cancer treatments.

These patients filled out surveys regarding physical activity, self-efficacy, distress, fatigue, and perceived memory impairment. There was a subgroup of 362 patients who wore devices to track their physical activity.

Researchers discovered that more moderate-to-vigorous physical activity was associated with a decrease in perceived memory impairment in both groups. They also found increased self-efficacy and decreased distress and fatigue with more physical activity.

“Our research suggests these self-reported memory problems may be emotionally related,” said researcher Siobhan Phillips, PhD. “These women are frightened, stressed, fatigued, tapped out emotionally and have low self-confidence, which can be very mentally taxing and can lead to perceived memory problems.”