Fatigue in breast cancer survivors: the impact of a mind-body medicine intervention.

Author: Appling SE, Scarvalone S, Macdonald R, McBeth M, Helzlsouer KJ.
Prevention and Research Center, Mercy Medical Center, Baltimore, MD.
Conference/Journal: Oncol Nurs Forum.
Date published: 2012 May 1
Other: Volume ID: 39 , Issue ID: 3 , Pages: 278-86 , Word Count: 238

Purpose/Objectives: To evaluate a mind-body medicine (MBM) program for its impact on persistent fatigue following breast cancer treatment.Design: Quasiexperimental.Setting: An urban community hospital and a health department in a semirural county, both in Maryland.Sample: 68 breast cancer survivors who were at least six months postadjuvant chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy and had a baseline fatigue score of 50 or lower per the vitality subscale of the SF-36® Health Survey.Methods: A 10-week group-based MBM program for breast cancer survivors with persistent fatigue was evaluated using a pretest/post-test study design.Main Research Variables: Sustained change in fatigue severity as measured by the Piper Fatigue Scale (PFS), SF-36 vitality subscale, and 10 cm visual analog scale (VAS).Findings: Participants were 2.6 years post-treatment, with a mean age of 56.8 years. Overall, fatigue scores improved by 40%. The mean PFS improved from a score of 6 (SD = 1.6) at baseline to 4.2 (SD = 2) at the end of the program (p < 0.001), with additional improvement at two months and sustained at six months (X = 3.6, SD = 2, p < 0.001). Results from the SF-36 and VAS also showed significant improvement in fatigue (p < 0.001).Conclusions: The findings support the use of a holistic MBM intervention to reduce persistent fatigue in breast cancer survivors. Results should be confirmed with a randomized clinical trial.Implications for Nursing: Nurses and other healthcare team members can effectively impact persistent fatigue in breast cancer survivors through the use of a multipronged MBM program.
PMID: 22543386