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Agnes Smaradottir, Angela L. Smith, Andrew J. Borgert and Kurt R. Oettel

Background: Physical activity (PA) during and after cancer treatment can help with symptom management and reduce the risk of cancer recurrence. However, it is unclear what constitutes an optimal exercise program. In addition, provider and patient barriers exist to the recommendation and adoption of exercise as part of a cancer treatment plan. The goal of this study was to determine how providers and patients feel about exercise during cancer treatment and explore what the barriers to implementing such a program might be. Patients and Methods: Focus groups and interviews were held with patients with malignancy, both metastatic and nonmetastatic, and oncology providers. In total, 20 patients participated in either a focus group or an individual interview and 9 providers contributed to the focus group. An equal number of patients (n=10) were interviewed as attended a focus group. Audiotaped sessions were transcribed verbatim. Theme identification was independently coded by 4 coders and synthesized as a group. Results: Neither patient group recalled PA instruction from oncology providers during their cancer treatment. Most participants (95%) felt exercise is important during cancer treatment, citing overall well-being benefits versus improved disease outcome. Most patients (80%) preferred a home-based exercise program provided by the oncologist. Fatigue was the most cited barrier to regular exercise during treatment (50%). All providers acknowledged benefits of PA to patients, but not universally for all. More than half of providers (55%) preferred a referral system for exercise programs. Clinic visit time constraints and a perceived lack of expertise in the area of PA were common barriers to making exercise recommendations a routine part of the treatment plan. Conclusions: Patients with cancer and oncologists recognize the benefits of PA during treatment. Disagreement exists between to whom, how, and where exercise plans should be disseminated and implemented.

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Benjamin M. Parsons, Dipesh Uprety, Angela L. Smith, Andrew J. Borgert and Leah L. Dietrich

Background: Despite the paucity of evidence supporting chemotherapy in the treatment of node-negative, HER2-positive breast cancer measuring <2 cm, use of trastuzumab-based chemotherapy has increased over the past decade. Therefore, we used the National Cancer Database to evaluate the use and impact of chemotherapy on survival in this population. Methods: We identified female patients aged 18 to 70 years with node-negative, HER2-positive breast cancer measuring <2 cm. A propensity-matched cohort model was used to control for risk factors known to influence survival. Primary end points assessed were receipt of chemotherapy and overall survival (OS). Results: In our propensity-matched cohort model (n=8,222), adjuvant chemotherapy (ACT) was associated with a lower 5-year OS rate in T1mi breast cancer (n=626; 89.1% [95% CI, 81.8%–93.5%] vs 99.1% [96.6%–99.8%]), no significant effect in T1a disease (n=2,901; 95.4% [93.2%–96.9%] vs 96.9% [94.1%–98.3%]), and improved 5-year OS in T1b (n=2,340; 97.1% [95.1%–98.4%] vs 92.3% [88.5%–94.9%]) and T1c tumors (n=2,355; 95.9% [93.5%–97.5%] vs 91.5% [88.4%–93.9%]). In the entire cohort of 21,148 patients who met the inclusion criteria, ACT was associated with lower 5-year OS in T1mi (89.6% [83.7%–93.4%] vs 98.1% [96.6%–98.9%]) and T1a tumors (94.9% [92.9%–96.3%] vs 96.5% [94.6%–97.7%]), and improved 5-year OS in T1b (96.8% [95.6%–97.7%] vs 92.3% [88.7%–94.8%]) and T1c tumors (95.8% [94.9%–96.5%] vs 91.6% [88.5%–93.9%]). Increased use of ACT was observed over the study period. From 2010 to 2013, annual treatment rates were 71.5%, 72.4%, 73.3%, and 74.4%, respectively (trend test, P<.0001). Conclusions: Our data support the use of ACT for HER2-positive, node-negative T1b and T1c breast cancer, whereas no benefit was observed for ACT in T1mi and T1a HER2-positive, node-negative breast cancer. Although use of ACT is increasing in node-negative, HER2-positive breast cancer <2 cm, our findings caution against its use in the smallest of these tumors (T1mi and T1a) due to lack of survival benefit.