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A Tool For Surviving Breast Cancer

If you’re a woman who has been treated for breast cancer, medical researchers recommend a particular activity for improving your chances of survival.

Their advice: Engage in aerobic exercise. Research at Duke University shows that women with better cardio-pulmonary function enjoy an improved chance of living longer after breast cancer treatment.

“Fitness level may be an important biomarker of survival among cancer patients,” says researcher Lee Jones. “But the beautiful thing about fitness is that we can improve it with exercise training. Although we currently do not know if improving fitness in cancer patients is associated with longer survival, our data provides initial evidence to pursue this question.”

Among the women in the study who had advanced breast cancer, median survival was significantly longer for women with higher cardiopulmonary function. Median survival was 36 months in highly fit women but only 16 months in those who were badly out of shape.