Purpose: Among the plethora of benefits of moderate to vigorous levels of physical activity for breast cancer survivors is a link to reduced risk for cancer recurrence. However, after the experience of cancer, many breast cancer survivors who were not previously active will stay inactive; and, those who were active do not return to their previous level of activity. Latinas are among the least physically active segments of the U.S. population. Utilizing a Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) based model as a guide, we conducted a cross sectional survey to investigate similarities and differences in SCT variables associated with current level of physical activity in Puerto Rican, Mexican-American and non-Hispanic white breast cancer survivors. The results reported here are being used to culturally adapt an exercise intervention specific for Mexican-American and Puerto Rican breast cancer survivors.

Methods: A total of 150 breast cancer survivors completed an interviewer-guided survey. Fifty Puerto-Rican (PR) participants completed the survey in San Juan Puerto Rico in the Oncologic Hospital. Fifty Mexican-American (MA) and fifty non-Hispanic (NHW) white breast cancer survivors completed the survey in the Breast Clinic at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. The survey included information on: current physical activity (Godin Leisure Time Exercise Scale, [GLTES]); current health status; and, anthropometric measures of BMI (kg/m2) with hip and waist circumferences (W:H). SCT measures included: exercise self-efficacy (ESE), barriers self-efficacy (BSE), modeling (MOD), social support from friends (SSFR), and social support from family (SSFA). Descriptive statistics, one-way analysis of variance and correlation analyses were conducted for the three groups.

Results: Participants were similar in age (M=56.75, SD=11.0), BMI (M=29.0, SD=5.7) and level of co-morbidity (M=1.63, SD=1.42). There were differences in GLTES score (p<.001) with the PR group having the lowest level (M=14.0, SD=19.1), MA lower level (M=33.5, SD=18.8) and NHW highest levels (M=43.7, SD=27.6) of activity. SCT variables that differed between groups were ESE (p=.05), MOD (p=.034) and SSAF (p=.052). SCT variables associated with current physical activity differed between the three groups: for NHW BSE (r=.58, p<.001) and SSFA (r=.26, p=.01); for PR ESE (r=.58, p<.001), BSE (r=.58, p<.001); and, for MA MOD (r=.41, p=.003) were associated with current physical activity.

Conclusions: Consistent with current literature, Hispanic breast cancer survivors indicate that they are less physically active than non-Hispanic whites. Variables associated with current physical activity differ between Hispanic breast cancer survivor groups and non-Hispanic whites. Further research to understand culturally specific variables of exercise behaviors for ethnic breast cancer survivors are warranted in order to develop culturally competent interventions that can result in increased physical activity.

Citation Information: Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2011;20(10 Suppl):B57.