Physical activity (PA) has been shown to improve quality of life (QoL) in predominantly White cancer survivors. Very few studies have examined the association between PA and QoL among Black breast cancer survivors (BCS). We investigated the association between PA and multiple QoL domains and the effects of race on the proposed association in a racially diverse group of BCS.
This was an exploratory study using secondary data from a completed 12-month randomized controlled trial (RCT). Mixed effects models were tested on a subset of participants in the control and exercise groups of the RCT. The primary outcomes were changes in the QoL domains (baseline to 12 months post baseline).
There were 173 participants included in this analysis, averaging 59 years of age; about 33% of the participants were Black women. There were no significant differences in the QoL outcomes between the control and exercise groups at 12 months post baseline. Race was not a significant moderator. Exercise improved emotional/mental wellbeing and body image as it relates to social barriers at 12 months post baseline in Black and White BCS, but the changes in these outcomes were only statistically significant in White BCS (p < 0.05).
Results show that exercise can improve multiple QoL domains over time in Black BCS. However, the significance of the effect on QoL was isolated to White BCS. The small sample size in Black women could constrain the statistical significance of observed effects. Future studies are warranted to assess associations between exercise and QoL in larger samples of Black women.