Although participating in exercise is beneficial for breast cancer survivors, not being able to find a comfortable exercise bra can be a barrier to exercise. It is likely that side effects specific to breast cancer treatment exacerbate exercise bra discomfort. This study aimed to determine the relationship between patient characteristics, physical side effects, exercise bra discomfort and exercise behaviours.
Four hundred thirty-two breast cancer survivors completed an online survey related to their treatment and demographic background, current exercise levels, reported exercise bra discomfort and breast cancer treatment side effects. Patient characteristics and exercise levels were considered in a binary logistic regression against reporting bra discomfort to ascertain significant relationships (p < 0.05) and predictive value (odds ratio). Pearson's chi-square statistics was used to determine significant relationships between reporting a side effect and exercise bra discomfort.
Eight out of nine physical side effects were significantly related to reporting exercise bra discomfort. Reporting exercise bra discomfort was significantly related to not achieving a minimal recommended level of exercise.
This is the first study in the scientific literature that systematically links the reporting of exercise bra discomfort to not achieving recommended levels of exercise. This effect of bra discomfort on exercise was found after controlling for age, surgery type and current treatment among a large cohort of women treated for breast cancer. Furthermore, results from this study suggest that physical side effects, as a result of surgery and treatment associated with breast cancer, are linked to experiencing bra discomfort during exercise.