Another Reason to Exercise

Hester Hill Schnipper, LICSW, OSW-C Program Manager, Oncology Social Work

MAY 15, 2018

Okay, I know we are all sick of hearing about the value of exercise. We know that a number of studies suggest that regular, mild to moderate, exercise may increase survival from a number of common cancers. We know that exercise is good for our hearts and our general health. We know that it helps maintain weight and raise energy. We even know that our mental health may be improved by lacing up those sneakers. (after, of course, we get over the grumbling about doing so and heading out)

This article from BreastCancer.Org puts a new spin on the subject. I have always read and understood that the survival benefit from exercise is related to weight and general better health. As we know, estrogen lives in fat cells, and, for hormone-related cancers, this is a good reason to try to manage our weight. This article gives us another reason as it relates a study that found that women with more muscle mass have a better prognosis in breast cancer than others. Interesting, no? And I will remind myself of this as I drag out of bed half an hour earlier so there is time to get to the gym. At least it is now light outside at 5:30!

Here is the start and a link to read more:

Women With Low Muscle Mass Have Worse Survival

More and more studies are showing that low muscle mass, called sarcopenia by doctors, is linked to worse outcomes, worse survival, and more side effects from cancer treatment. A study looking specifically at women diagnosed with stage II or stage III breast cancer found that women with low muscle mass had a higher risk of dying from breast cancer or any other cause.

The study was published online on April 5, 2018 by JAMA Oncology. Read the abstract of "Association of Muscle and Adiposity Measured by Computed Tomography With Survival in Patients With Nonmetastatic Breast Cancer." The study included 3,241 women who were diagnosed with stage II or stage III breast cancer at Kaiser Permanente of Northern California or the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute between January 2000 and December 2013. The women ranged in age from 18 to 80 years and followup time was about 6 years.

Read more from

View All Articles