Can counseling add value to an exercise intervention for improving quality of life in breast cancer survivors? A feasibility study.

Research paper by Fiona F Naumann, Eric E Martin, Martin M Philpott, Cathie C Smith, Diane D Groff, Claudio C Battaglini

Indexed on: 16 Dec '11Published on: 16 Dec '11Published in: The journal of supportive oncology


Improved survivorship has led to increased recognition of the need to manage the side effects of cancer and its treatment. Exercise and psychological interventions benefit survivors; however, it is unknown if additional benefits can be gained by combining these two modalities.Our purpose was to examine the feasibility of delivering an exercise and counseling intervention to 43 breast cancer survivors, to determine if counseling can add value to an exercise intervention for improving quality of life (QOL) in terms of physical and psychological function.We compared exercise only (Ex), counseling only (C), exercise and counseling (ExC), and usual care (UsC) over an 8 week intervention.In all, 93% of participants completed the interventions, with no adverse effects documented. There were significant improvements in VO(2)max as well as upper body and lower body strength in the ExC and Ex groups compared to the C and UsC groups (P < .05). Significant improvements on the Beck Depression Inventory were observed in the ExC and Ex groups, compared with UsC (P < .04), with significant reduction in fatigue for the ExC group, compared with UsC, and no significant differences in QOL change between groups, although the ExC group had significant clinical improvement.Limitations included small subject number and study of only breast cancer survivors.These preliminary results suggest that a combined exercise and psychological counseling program is both feasible and acceptable for breast cancer survivors and may improve QOL more than would a single-entity intervention.