Promoting Physical and Psychological Rehabilitation Activities and Evaluating Potential Links Among Cancer-Related Fatigue, Fear of Recurrence, Quality of Life, and Physiological Indicators in Cancer Survivors.

Author: Lee YH1,2, Lai GM3,4, Lee DC2, Tsai Lai LJ5, Chang YP6
11 National Health Research Institutes, Zhunan, Miaoli County, Taiwan.
22 Da-Yeh University, Dacun, Changhua, Taiwan.
33 Taipei Municipal Wanfang Hospital, Wenshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan.
44 Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan.
55 Formosa Cancer Foundation, Taipei, Taiwan.
66 Fooyin University, Daliao District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan.
Conference/Journal: Integr Cancer Ther.
Date published: 2018 Oct 25
Other: Volume ID: 1534735418805149 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1177/1534735418805149. [Epub ahead of print] , Word Count: 283

OBJECTIVES: Cancer-related fatigue and fear of recurrence (FOR) are the most common symptoms in cancer survivors and severely affect quality of life (QOL). This study aims to promote and evaluate the effectiveness of physical and psychological rehabilitation activities for cancer survivors.

METHODS: A longitudinal study with an interventional research design was conducted. A total of 80 participants were randomly assigned to experimental groups E1 (Qigong exercise [QE]) or E2 (stress management [SM]) or the control group. The E1 and E2 groups received QE and SM, respectively, as interventions once a week for 12 weeks, and effects were assessed. Cancer-related fatigue, FOR, QOL, and heart rate variability (HRV) were evaluated at baseline (T0), after 12 weeks (T1), and at the 3-month follow-up (T2).

RESULTS: QE and SM effectively strengthened the physical and psychological functions of cancer survivors at the T1 phase. Although differences in FOR and QOL were not statistically significant, the scores were decreased and increased, respectively. Although the effects during the T2 phase were not as significant as those during T1, the score progress was maintained. The effects on HRV were significantly different among the E1, E2, and control groups at T1, which shows that the performance of both experimental groups was better than that of the control group.

CONCLUSIONS: Physical and psychological rehabilitation activities should be practiced periodically and should be led by professional staff. Long-term educational resources and care should also be provided. HRV can be used to efficiently monitor the status of the mind-body balance and is a more suitable index than questionnaires for physical and psychological function evaluation in cancer survivors.

KEYWORDS: Qigong exercise; cancer survivors; cancer-related fatigue; fear of recurrence; heart rate variability; quality of life; stress management

PMID: 30354701 DOI: 10.1177/1534735418805149