Physical Activity in Puerto Rican Breast Cancer Survivors

Maribel Tirado-Gómez, Daniel C. Hughes, Velda González-Mercado, Rose A. Treviño-Whitaker, Karen Basen-Engquist


Objective: Breast cancer survivors do not engage in appropriate levels of physical activity, despite the known benefits of such activity. This study aims to describe physical-activity levels and the barriers to it in a group of Puerto Rican breast cancer survivors, as well as detailing their preferences for an intervention. Methods: Participants who finished their chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy for breast cancer at least 4 months prior to the study were included. Demographic, anthropometric, and clinical data were obtained. The Godin Leisure-Time Exercise Questionnaire (GLTEQ) and questionnaires on exercise self-efficacy, barriers to self-efficacy, modeling, and social support were filled out by study participants. Data on access to exercise equipment and preferences regarding a physical-activity intervention were collected. Descriptive statistics and correlation analyses were performed. Results: Fifty breast cancer survivors were recruited. Almost all the participants reported that they did not engage in any kind of strenuous physical activity (94%), with more than three fourths (76%) reporting that they did not even participate in any kind of moderate physical activity. The GLTEQ score was associated with barriers to selfefficacy, while the association with exercise self-efficacy approached significance (p = 0.055). Nearly half of the patients (44%) had access to exercise equipment. Preferred methods for the delivery of physical-activity interventions were participating in group settings (72%) and receiving material in the postal mail (44%). Conclusion: The study described herein reports on the low levels of physical activity being practiced by a group of Puerto Rican breast cancer survivors, despite the fact that many of them had access to exercise equipment and facilities. Further studies aimed at understanding breast cancer survivors’ barriers to physical activity and at developing culturally competent interventions to increase the levels of such activity are warranted.


physical activity, breast cancer, Social Cognitive Theory

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