The Cooper Institute

Founded in 1970 by the "Father of Aerobics"
Kenneth H. Cooper MD, MPH


Fitness for Female Cancer Survivors

Until recently, little has been known about the relationship between fitness and survivors of gynecologic cancers. Now, new research from The Cooper Institute and University of Vermont (published in Gynecologic Oncology) found that female cancer survivors are less fit than their cancer-free peers.

Using the Cooper Center Longitudinal Study, the world's largest ongoing study used to relate exercise and fitness to overall health, our team compared the fitness levels of 89 female survivors of ovarian, endometrial and cervical cancer to 89 age-matched healthy women. Each woman performed a maximal treadmill exercise test at Cooper Clinic and results showed female cancer survivors tend to be less fit than healthy women their same age.

In healthy women, fitness level is a strong predictor of all-cause mortality, and recent findings show that fitness is also a significant predictor of mortality in cancer survivors. Some of the many health benefits of physical activity and being fit include:

Decreased risk for:


The takeaway – women should maintain their fitness during all stages of life. Exercising before, during and after cancer diagnosis and treatment helps women combat stress, depression and fatigue and is important in aiding recovery.