Do Cancer-Related Fatigue and Physical Activity Vary by Age for Black Women With a History of Breast Cancer?

Melody Swen, Amandeep Mann, Raheem J. Paxton, Lorraine T. Dean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


INTRODUCTION: Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) is the most uncomfortable symptom among women with a history of breast cancer. Black women are more likely than women of other racial/ethnic groups to have CRF risk factors, such as physical inactivity and obesity, yet CRF studies have not focused on black women. We conducted a cross-sectional analysis to assess CRF and physical activity among black women survivors of breast cancer.

METHOD: In May and July of 2012, 267 members (mean age, 54 y) of the Sisters Network, Inc, completed an online survey of sociodemographic characteristics, medical characteristics, and physical activity, and a fatigue instrument (the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy [FACIT]). Multiple linear regression assessed fatigue and physical activity compliance (ie, 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week).

RESULTS: Participants had an average FACIT score of 32.3, Fatigue was greater (P < .001) among the 56% of women not meeting physical activity guidelines. In multivariable analysis, correlates of fatigue showed that physical activity compliance (β = 3.20, P < .001) and older age group (50-59 y: β = 3.98, P = .001; ≥60 y,: β = 3.76, P = .003) were associated with less fatigue. The interaction between age and fatigue was also significant: mean differences in fatigue by physical activity level were obvious only among women younger than 50 years. (P < .001).

CONCLUSION: Physical activity compliance was associated with a lower level of fatigue. However, the effect of physical activity on fatigue may differ by age. Interventions aimed at curbing CRF in black women should consider age-appropriate strategies that can be integrated into existing lifestyles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number170128
Pages (from-to)E122
JournalPreventing Chronic Disease
StatePublished - Nov 30 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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