Dance and movement program improves quality-of-life measures in breast cancer survivors

Cancer Nurs. Jul-Aug 2005;28(4):301-9. doi: 10.1097/00002820-200507000-00011.


A pilot research study was conducted at 2 cancer centers in Connecticut to determine the effect of a dance and movement program on quality of life and shoulder function in breast cancer survivors treated within the prior 5 years. Thirty-five women completed the trial that included a 12-week intervention, using The Lebed Method, Focus on Healing Through Movement and Dance. The study design was a randomized control trial with a wait list control group crossover to active treatment in weeks 13 to 25, with the treatment group receiving the program in weeks 1 to 12, and no program in weeks 13 to 25. Outcome measures were the Breast Cancer Quality of Life (FACT-B), Shoulder range of motion (ROM), and Body Image Scale. FACT-B significantly improved in the intervention group at 13 weeks from 102.0 +/- 15.8 to 116.7 +/- 16.9, compared to the wait list group 108.1 +/- 16.4 to 107.1 +/- 21.3 (time x group effect, P = .008). During the crossover phase, the FACT-B score increased in the wait list group and was stable in the treatment group. The overall effect of the training at 26 weeks was significant (time effect, P = .03), and the order of training was also significant (P = .015). Shoulder ROM increased in both groups at 13 weeks--15 degrees and 8 degrees in the intervention and wait list groups (Time effect, P = .03; time x group, P = .58). Body Image improved similarly in both groups at 13 weeks (time effect, P = .001; time x group, P = .25), and at 26 weeks. There was no significant effect of the order of training for these outcome measures. A dance movement program that addressed the physical and emotional needs of women following treatment for breast cancer substantially improved a breast cancer-specific quality-of-life measure. Larger studies are justified to determine the acceptability of this therapy as part of the continuum of care for breast cancer survivors.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Body Image
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Connecticut
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dance Therapy*
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphedema / rehabilitation*
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Care
  • Quality of Life*
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Shoulder Pain / rehabilitation*