Postmenopausal Breast Cancer Survivors at Risk for Osteoporosis: Physical Activity, Vigor, and Vitality

Gloria Gross

Carol Ott

Ada M. Lindsey

Janice J. Twiss

Nancy Waltman

ONF 2007, 29(9), 1295-1300. DOI: 10.1188/02.ONF.1295-1300

Purpose/Objectives: To test a multicomponent intervention to prevent and treat osteoporosis in breast cancer survivors.

Design: Descriptive, correlational.

Setting: Midwestern urban and rural sites.

Sample: 27 postmenopausal breast cancer survivors between the ages of 42-65 who had completed treatment, except for tamoxifen, and were not candidates for hormone replacement therapy.

Methods: Bone mineral density (BMD) of the hip, spine, and forearm was measured using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Physical activity was recorded using the Seven-Day Physical Activity Recall-Adapted, which classifies activities as light, moderate, hard, or very hard. Vigor was measured with the eight-item subscale of the Profile of Mood State based on the previous week. Vitality was measured using the four-question subscale of the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short Form Health Survey.

Main Research Variables: Physical activity, vigor, vitality, and BMD.

Findings: More than half reported no very hard physical activity, and 37% reported no hard activity. The association of vigor with total metabolic equivalents for combined moderate, hard, and very hard activities was significant (r = 0.536, p = 0.007), as were the hours spent in the combined moderate to very hard activities. No relationship was found between vigor, vitality, or any level of activity and BMD.

Conclusions: Survivors reported high levels of perceived vigor and vitality but spent more time engaged in light versus hard or very hard activities. Positive correlations between higher levels of vitality and vigor with metabolic equivalents support the idea that activity promotes perceptions of energy and positive feelings.

Implications for Nursing: Breast cancer survivors are at risk for osteoporosis. Nurses should be aware of increased risk, recommend screening for bone health, and encourage physical activity.

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