Despite improvements in survival rate, breast cancer survivors (BCS) are at elevated risk for hypertension (HTN) and its consequences, possibly due to pre-existing obesity and breast cancer therapies. HTN is a major risk factor for stroke, coronary heart disease, and congestive heart failure. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a 16-week aerobic and resistance exercise intervention on blood pressure (BP) in BCS with HTN.Design and method:
Twenty-six BCS (Stage I-III) with HTN who completed therapy for early stage breast cancer within 6 months prior to study enrollment were randomized to the Control (CON; n = 13) or the Exercise (EX; n = 13) group. The EX group underwent supervised aerobic and resistance exercise sessions 3 times a week for 16 weeks. The CON group was asked to maintain their current level of activity. Resting systolic and diastolic BP were assessed before and after the 16-week study period. Paired t-test and two-way repeated measures ANOVA were used to examine the effects of exercise training on BP.Results:
The EX and CON did not differ by age (52.5 ± 8.2yr), body mass index (29.6 ± 5.4kg/m2), waist circumference (101.3 ± 14.5cm), systolic BP (135.9 ± 8.2 mmHg) and diastolic BP (89.9 ± 4.6). Following 16 weeks, systolic and diastolic BP were significantly reduced (6% and 11%, respectively) in the EX group (P = 0.01). The CON group had no significant change on systolic and diastolic BP (P > 0.05). There was a significant time (pre vs. post) by group (EX and CON) interaction for systolic and diastolic BP (P = 0.04 and 0.01, respectively) in BCS with HTN.Conclusions:
A 16-week combined exercise training intervention under supervised training conditions is an effective approach to reduce BP in BCS with HTN, implying that exercise is important during cancer survivorship to reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease mortality.