Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity is related to improved subjective memory in breast cancer survivors, who often complain about memory problems, reports a new Northwestern Medicine study.
It appears the physical activity alleviates stress and benefits women psychologically, which in turn aids their memory.
A surprising finding is memory problems appear to be related to the high stress load cancer survivors experience, and may not be specific to chemotherapy or radiation treatments.
“Our research suggests these self-reported memory problems may be emotionally related,” said lead author Siobhan Phillips, assistant professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “These women are frightened, stressed, fatigued, tapped out emotionally and have low self-confidence, which can be very mentally taxing and can lead to perceived memory problems.”
The study will be published July 8 in the journal Psycho-Oncology.