Moderate Physical Activity Mediates the Association between White Matter Lesion Volume and Memory Recall in Breast Cancer Survivors
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Increased survival rates among breast cancer patients have drawn significant attention to consequences of both the presence of cancer, and the subsequent treatment-related impact on the brain. The incidence of breast cancer and the effects of treatment often result in alterations in the microstructure of white matter and impaired cognitive functioning. However, physical activity is proving to be a successful modifiable lifestyle factor in many studies that could prove beneficial to breast cancer survivors. This study investigates the link between white matter lesion volume, moderate physical activity, and cognition in breast cancer survivors following treatment compared to non-cancer age-matched controls. Results revealed that brain structure significantly predicted cognitive function via mediation of physical activity in breast cancer survivors. Overall, the study provided preliminary evidence suggesting moderate physical activity may help reduce the treatment related risks associated with breast cancer, including changes to WM integrity and cognitive impairment.