Author ORCID Identifier 0000-0002-8998-4792

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Clinical and Translational Sciences

First Advisor

W. Gregory Hundley

Second Advisor

Justin M. Canada

Third Advisor

Bernard F. Fuemmeler

Fourth Advisor

Jennifer H. Jordan


Background: Breast cancer (BC) survivors are at high risk for heart failure due to curative cancer therapies. In non-cancer populations, physical activity is a first line treatment for preventing cardiovascular disease. This study examined whether more physical activity was associated with better submaximal exercise capacity and cardiac function during the first three months of cancer therapy.

Methods: Participants included 223 women with stage I-III BC before therapy and after three months of undergoing treatment and 126 controls. Leisure time physical activity was reported using the Godin Sheppard leisure time exercise questionnaire. Cardiac function was assessed by cardiac magnetic resonance, and submaximal exercise capacity was determined by 6-minute walk distance (6MWD).

Results: On average, women in the BC group were older (55.6 ± 10.9 y vs. 50.6 ± 14.1 y, p15%.

Conclusions: Physical activity declined in the first three months of receiving cancer therapy; however, maintaining physical activity during cancer therapy may mitigate declines in exercise capacity and cardiac function often observed in this population.


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