Immediate increase in perceived energy after exercise during the course of chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer

Anna Johnsson, Katarina Sjovall, Ingrid Demmelmaier, Philippe Wagner, Håkan Olsson, Åsa Tornberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE: Exercise during chemotherapy has beneficial long-term effects on women with breast cancer, but short-term beneficial changes have been less investigated. Though short-term changes may be important as a encouraging factor, this study aimed to investigate immediate changes in self-reported energy, stress, nausea and pain following a single exercise session during chemotherapy.

METHODS: Forty-six women who were exercising while undergoing adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer were included between October 2016 and April 2018. Self-reported energy and stress were assessed before, immediately after and 3 h after exercise sessions by the Stress-Energy Questionnaire. On the same questionnaire nausea and pain were assessed by a Visual Analog Scale. The measurements were completed at four time points during cycles 2 and 5 of the 6-cycle chemotherapy course.

RESULTS: Energy level increased immediately after a single exercise session for three out of four periods during the chemotherapy course (p < 0.01), with a larger increase when energy was lower before the session (p < 0.01). Three hours after the exercise session, the energy was about the same level as before the exercise session. Stress decreased immediately after the session during cycle two (p < 0.01) but not cycle five. There were no changes in nausea or pain.

CONCLUSIONS: Patients undergoing chemotherapy should be informed not only about the long-term advantages of exercise, but also immediate benefits in terms of increased energy. The energy increase both while exercise in the beginning and toward the end of the chemotherapy course, this short-term advantageous consequence may strengthen patients' motivation to exercise. Clinicians should also inform patients that exercise does not seem to worsen nausea and pain.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102149
JournalEuropean Journal of Oncology Nursing
Early online date2022 May 11
Publication statusPublished - 2022 May 28

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Cancer and Oncology
  • Physiotherapy


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