Akron, Ohio (October 9, 2012): Successful treatment of breast cancer is often accompanied by long-term and late effects that diminish psychological and physical functioning and limit recovery. The physical decrements are attributed to treatment-induced factors such as postsurgical upper extremity movement disability, prematurely induced menopause, cancer-related fatigue and sarcopenic obesity(1). A recent study by Rita Musanti, Ph.D., showed that a resistance-based exercise program, using Thera-Band® Elastic Resistance Bands, significantly improved physical self-esteem, defined as an individual’s feeling of self-respect and worth. The stress of a cancer diagnosis, persistent treatment-related effects, and the uncertainty of recurrence can produce psychological responses such as anxiety, depression and lessened self-esteem(1).

Dr. Musanti’s study, published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, looked at the effects of different types of exercise on self-esteem in breast cancer survivors. Forty-two women diagnosed with stage I through III-B breast cancer and who had completed chemotherapy or radiation therapy participated in the study. They were randomly assigned to one of four 12-week, individualized home-based exercise programs—flexibility training; aerobic training; Thera-Band resistance training; or aerobic plus Thera-Band resistance training.

“We knew that exercise prescription had been linked to improved self-esteem in non-breast cancer populations and hoped our study would result in the same findings plus create heightened awareness of this benefit of exercise,” stated Dr. Musanti. “Obviously, a woman wants to survive breast cancer, but she also wants to feel good again and that often has to start with her feeling good about herself.

“We hypothesized that combining resistance and aerobic training would have a greater effect on physical self-esteem,” continued Musanti. “However the study showed that resistance training alone increased physical self-esteem more than the combination of resistance and aerobic training. This is good news for those patients who may not have the ability or energy to embrace an aerobic exercise program, or as the first step along the way to a comprehensive exercise program.”

Click here to download Dr. Musanti’s breast cancer exercise protocol.

Each participant was assessed for strength, flexibility, cardiovascular fitness, body composition and self-esteem. At the end of 12 weeks, each group demonstrated improvements; in particular, the Thera-Band resistance and combined aerobic and resistance groups significantly increased their upper body strength. The resistance training group also significantly increased their self-esteem; however, the combination of aerobic and resistance training did not provide additional enhancements to self-esteem. In summary, a Thera-Band resistance exercise program is effective in improving both strength and physical self-esteem in breast cancer survivors.

“We are grateful to Dr. Musanti for her work on this study, which will help fellow clinicians make evidence-led decisions that ultimately benefit patients,” said Dr. Phil Page, Director of Clinical Education and Research for Performance Health. “There are countless studies that validate the effectiveness of our Thera-Band resistance products, but it’s particularly gratifying when our products provide multiple benefits, such as improving both strength and self-esteem, to a group that is so worthy after fighting and succeeding in the battle against cancer. We are also pleased that this news piece falls in October, National Breast Cancer month and hope that it garners greater attention.”

Visit the Thera-Band Academy Breast Cancer Resource Center here.

About Rita Musanti, Ph.D.: Dr. Musanti is a Nurse Researcher at Morristown Medical Center, Morristown, NJ, a partner hospital in the Atlantic Health System. Dr. Musanti is also an Oncology Nurse Practitioner and ACSM certified Exercise Specialist® and Cancer Exercise Trainer.

About the Academy: The Thera-Band® Academy was formed to scientifically document the benefits of resistance exercise and pain relief, guide the company in its development of new products and exercise programs, and to promote therapeutic exercise and pain management through professional and consumer education. The Academy web site is a unique resource that connects healthcare professionals and consumers to the ever growing body of knowledge on exercise. Registration is free and provides access to the largest database of rehab exercises, protocols, research and education in the world.

About Performance Health

Featuring leading brands like Thera-Band®, Biofreeze® and Pedigenix®, Performance Health offers a broad portfolio of products for the therapy, rehabilitation, wellness, massage, podiatric and performance markets. In addition to market-leading products, Performance Health provides practice building support, evidence-based protocols, clinical and product education, turn-key dispensing- and pain-management solutions.

1. Ferrell BR, Grant M, Funk B, Otis-Green S, Garcia N. Quality of life in breast cancer. Part I: Physical and social well-being. Cancer Nurs. 1997;20(6):398–408.