Can a multimodal mind-body program enhance the treatment effects of physical activity in breast cancer survivors with chronic tumor-associated fatigue? A randomized controlled trial

Integr Cancer Ther. 2013 Jul;12(4):291-300. doi: 10.1177/1534735413492727.


Background. Chronic fatigue is one of the most restricting symptoms following primary breast cancer treatment, but clinical studies on symptom management are rare. The objective was to evaluate the impact of a multimodal mind-body program (MMMT), including moderate physical activity as compared with a walking intervention alone, on chronic fatigue symptoms of women with stage I to IIIA breast cancer.

Patients and methods: Sixty-four women (mean age = 56.7 years) suffering from chronic fatigue after active tumor treatment were randomly assigned to either an experimental or a control (n = 32 each) intervention (10 weeks). Fatigue, quality of life (QoL), functional well-being, anxiety, and depression were measured with standard questionnaires at baseline, after 10 weeks, and after 3 months.

Results: Compared with baseline, both groups had reduced fatigue scores after treatment without any significant difference between groups (posttreatment, Δ = -0.3, confidence interval = -1.6 to 1.0, P = .678; follow-up, Δ = -0.4, confidence interval = -1.8 to 0.9, P = .510). All patients also improved regarding QoL and general functional well-being.

Conclusion: Since both interventions reduced fatigue symptoms and enhanced QoL to a similar extent, we observed no verifiable add-on effect of the MMMT regarding fatigue symptoms. Considering the higher costs with additional expenditure related to MMMT, home-based walking intervention is recommended.

Keywords: anxiety; cancer; compliance; exercise; mindfulness; mind–body medicine; naturopathy; walking.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Fatigue / etiology*
  • Fatigue / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Mind-Body Therapies*
  • Motor Activity*
  • Quality of Life
  • Survivors
  • Treatment Outcome