OBJECTIVE: The aim of our study is to assess the association between preoperative level of activity and recovery after breast cancer surgery measured as hospital stay, length of sick leave and self-assessed physical and mental recovery.
DESIGN: A prospective cohort study.
SETTING: Patients included were those scheduled to undergo breast cancer surgery, between February and November 2013, at two participating hospitals in the Western Region of Sweden.
PARTICIPANTS: Patients planned for breast cancer surgery filled out a questionnaire before, as well as at 3 and 6 weeks after the operation. The preoperative level of activity was self-assessed and categorised into four categories by the participants using the 4-level Saltin-Grimby Physical Activity Level Scale (SGPALS).
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Our main outcome was postoperative recovery measured as length of sick leave, in-hospital stay and self-assessed physical and mental recovery.
RESULTS: 220 patients were included. Preoperatively, 14% (31/220) of participants assessed themselves to be physically inactive, 61% (135/220) to exert some light physical activity (PA) and 20% (43/220) to be more active (level 3+4). Patients operated with mastectomy versus partial mastectomy and axillary lymph node dissection versus sentinel node biopsy were less likely to have a short hospital stay, relative risk (RR) 0.88 (0.78 to 1.00) and 0.82 (0.70 to 0.96). More active participants (level 3 or 4) had an 85% increased chance of feeling physically recovered at 3 weeks after the operation, RR 1.85 (1.20 to 2.85). No difference was seen after 6 weeks.
CONCLUSIONS: The above study shows that a higher preoperative level of PA is associated with a faster physical recovery as reported by the patients 3 weeks post breast cancer surgery. After 6 weeks, most patients felt physically recovered, diminishing the association above. No difference was seen in length of sick leave or self-assessed mental recovery between inactive or more active patients.
2016. Vol. 6, no 1, e007997