Contemp Clin Trials 2009 Sep 24;30(5):457-63. Epub 2009 Apr 24.
Helsinki University Central Hospital, Department of Oncology, HUS, Finland.
Background: The BREX study is one of the largest randomised prospective exercise interventions of breast cancer survivors which aims at investigate whether regular exercise could reduce the long-term side effects of the adjuvant treatments and improve quality of life.
Material And Methods: The study was limited to consider patients aged 35-68 years, who had recently completed adjuvant chemotherapy or started endocrine therapy. In this paper, we describe the recruitment process of the 413 randomised patients from the Helsinki University Hospital between September 2005 and September 2007.
Results: 768 potentially eligible patients out of the 1321 screened (via medical records) were contacted by phone. After the phone call 240 patients were excluded due to health problems that contraindicated exercise training. The most common health problems were musculoskeletal disorders. A total of 528 patients were considered as eligible for the intervention. Ultimately 413 of them agreed to participate resulting in a 53.8% recruitment rate of the potentially eligible patients. The most important reasons for declining were social, not health related. Eligible patients who did not want to participate did not differ significantly from those who participated according to age, health status, breast cancer treatment and tumour type.
Discussion: The high recruitment rate demonstrates breast cancer patient's willingness to participate even in long-lasting supervised exercise programs shortly after adjuvant treatments. After taking into account the selection of the population by age and musculoskeletal health, the results of the present intervention can be generalized to represent urban breast cancer patient population in Finland.