Many women experience high levels of distress after a diagnosis of breast cancer and this can be ongoing or even increase after completing adjuvant therapy. Up to 70% of women report cognitive impairment that impacts their ability to function optimally in daily life.
The health benefits of exercise are being increasingly recognized across a range of chronic health conditions, including breast cancer. Exercise is known to moderate symptoms of depression and fatigue in women with breast cancer, helps to minimize the impact of side effects of treatment, and aids in recovery after treatment. Research has begun to address the question of whether exercise can moderate the cognitive impairments women describe after their diagnosis. Few studies to date have reported these outcomes but it is an area in which an increasing number of studies are underway. Here we will review what it known already and what future trials will tell us about the capacity of exercise to contribute to management of distress and cognitive impairment.