Exercise doesn't only keep healthy individuals fit. According to a new study featured on Science Daily, even breast cancer patients may reap the benefits of physical activity, especially those who are being treated with aromatase inhibitors, which may have side effects that include arthritis, arthralgia, and other joint disorders.

Researchers from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Yale University surveyed 121 post-menopausal breast cancer patients, who were prescribed aromatase inhibitors, about the level of joint pain they experience. Afterward, 61 of the participants were given two strength training sessions and 150 minutes of aerobic exercise in a week, while the rest went on with their normal daily routine.

When the patients were evaluated after a year, the researchers found that joint pain scores lowered by 20 percent in those who joined the exercise program, as compared with the 3 percent of the other group. The level of pain also decreased significantly in those who exercised.

“Joint pain, or arthralgia, which occurs in up to half of breast cancer patients who take aromatase inhibitors, is one of the major drawbacks of these drugs,” says study senior author Jennifer Ligibel.

“The pain leads many to discontinue the drugs, which can increase the chance that the cancer will return. Identifying a way to help women tolerate these drugs is a very important finding.”

(Photo by Tomas Sobek via Flickr Creative Commons)

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