PURPOSE:: Physical activity has become a focus of cancer recovery research because it has the potential to reduce treatment-related burden and to optimize health-related quality of life (HRQoL). However, the potential for physical activity to influence recovery may be age dependent. This article describes physical activity levels and HRQoL among younger and older women after surgery for breast cancer and explores the correlates of physical inactivity. METHODS:: A population-based sample of breast cancer patients (n = 287) diagnosed in South-East Queensland, Australia, were assessed once every 3 months, from 6 to 18 months postsurgery. The Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Breast questionnaire and items from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System questionnaire were used to measure HRQoL and physical activity, respectively. Physical activity was assigned MET values and categorized as /=3 MET.h.wk of physical activity reported a higher HRQoL at 18 months compared with their more sedentary counterparts (P < 0.05). Older women reported similar HRQoL irrespective of activity level and consistently reported clinically higher HRQoL than younger women. Increasing age, being overweight or obese, and restricting use of the treated side at 6 months postsurgery increased the likelihood of sedentary behavior (odds ratio >/= 3, P < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS:: Age influences the potential to observe HRQoL benefits related to physical activity participation. These results also provide relevant information for the design of exercise interventions for breast cancer survivors and highlight that some groups of women are at greater risk of long-term sedentary behavior.
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