Background: Substantial numbers of cancer patients use complementary medicine therapies, even without a supportive evidence base. This study aimed to evaluate in a randomized controlled trial, the use of Medical Qigong (MQ) compared with usual care to improve the quality of life (QOL) of cancer patients.
Patients and methods: One hundred and sixty-two patients with a range of cancers were recruited. QOL and fatigue were measured by Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General and Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Fatigue, respectively, and mood status by Profile of Mood State. The inflammatory marker serum C-reactive protein (CRP) was monitored serially.
Results: Regression analysis indicated that the MQ group significantly improved overall QOL (t(144) = -5.761, P < 0.001), fatigue (t(153) = -5.621, P < 0.001), mood disturbance (t(122) =2.346, P = 0.021) and inflammation (CRP) (t(99) = 2.042, P < 0.044) compared with usual care after controlling for baseline variables.
Conclusions: This study indicates that MQ can improve cancer patients' overall QOL and mood status and reduce specific side-effects of treatment. It may also produce physical benefits in the long term through reduced inflammation.