Many patients with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer are treated with an aromatase inhibitor (AI). Around half of these patients experience joint and muscle pain, stiffness, tiredness and weight gain as side effects. These complaints often lead to patients doing less exercise, thus impairing their quality of life.
In trial SAKK 95/17, developed and led by MSc Nicolette Hoefnagels and Dr. Friedemann Honecker, we are investigating whether an exercise regimen at the start of the AI treatment can improve the tolerability of the treatment, alleviate the side effects, and increase the patients’ quality of life.
In previous trials of physical activity during AI treatment, the interventions were often highly complex and impracticable. In this trial, therefore, we are planning to use a simple exercise regimen that patients can incorporate into their everyday lives and that may result in a long-term change to their lifestyle.
The trial is enrolling patients with localized breast cancer who have had tumor surgery but not yet started AI treatment. The participants will wear a fitness tracker on their wrist for 24 weeks, which they will only take off at night, and will keep a patient diary. They will come for a check-up every three weeks at the trial centre, where the data from the fitness tracker will also be downloaded.