An Exploration of Perceptions of Strength Training in Breast Cancer Survivors

Author: Elizabeth Roberts
Major: Public Health Studies
Approved: Spring 2021
Status: In progress

Breast cancer treatments are associated with long-term side effects including losses in muscle mass, bone mineral density, strength, and physical function (Freedman et al., 2004; Shapiro et al., 2001;?Simonavice?et al., 2011). Although exercise, specifically strength training, has been found to attenuate the losses in both muscle mass and bone mineral density as well as improve strength, physical function, and quality of life in breast cancer survivors (Brown & Schmitz, 2015; Campbell et al., 2019;?Simonavice?et al., 2014), the majority of breast cancer survivors do not participate in regular physical activity (Irwin et al., 2004). While previous studies have investigated perceived benefits and barriers to physical activity, there is a lack of research specifically investigating breast cancer survivors’ perceptions of strength training. Therefore, this project will be exploring breast cancer survivors’ experience with and perceptions of strength training.  This semester, I will continue my background research for the study, obtain IRB approval, and distribute recruitment flyers. After recruiting between 10 and 20 participants for the study (until saturation for my qualitative study has been reached), they will be given an informed consent form, a set of pre-interview online survey questions, and then be given a choice between an interview via zoom or the telephone. The interview will consist of 8 – 10 questions that are focusing on participants’ perceived benefits, barriers, and motivations for strength training. After gathering and analyzing the data from the interviews throughout the summer, I will begin writing up a final paper that includes the background research, methodology, results, and recommendations for future research. In the fall, for my final half unit, I will finalize my paper and take my research to a conference to share it with other professionals in the Public Health field.