Objective: The purpose of this randomized controlled trial (RCT) was to examine the feasibility and acceptability of a Tai Chi Chih (TCC) intervention in senior female cancer survivors with physical functioning limitations, and its effects on health-related quality of life (QOL).
Design: This was a two-armed, parallel group, RCT with 12-weeks of Tai Chi Chih or Health Education Control.
Methods: Sixty-three senior (M age = 67 years, SD = 7.15) female cancer survivors (83% breast cancer, stages I-III) with physical functioning limitations (SF-12 Health Survey role-physical & physical functioning subscales) were randomized to 12-weeks of TCC or Health Education control (HEC). Primary outcomes were feasibility and acceptability. Secondary outcomes included health-related QOL (SF-36 Health Survey), and participants' qualitative feedback on the intervention.
Results: Retention (TCC = 91%; HEC = 81%) and class attendance (TCC = 79%; HEC = 83%) rates, and satisfaction levels for both study arms were high, but did not significantly differ from one another. At one-week post-intervention, none of the SF-36 scores differed between the TCC and HEC groups. Within-group analyses revealed significant improvements in the mental component summary score in TCC (p = 0.01), but not in HEC. Qualitative analyses indicated that the TCC group felt they received mental and physical benefits, whereas HEC group reported on social support benefits and information received.
Conclusion: The TCC intervention was found to be a feasible and acceptable modality for senior female cancer survivors. Future, larger definitive trials are needed to clarify TCC dosage effects on QOL in this vulnerable population.
Keywords: Tai Chi Chih; feasibility randomized controlled trial; oncology; quality of life; senior female cancer survivors.