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Cancer Nursing:
Article

Dance and Movement Program Improves Quality‐of‐Life Measures in Breast Cancer Survivors

Sandel, Susan L. PhD, ADTR, CLM; Judge, James O. MD; Landry, Nora BS; Faria, Lynn MA; Ouellette, Robbie PT; Majczak, Marta BA

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Abstract

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 × 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° and 8° in the intervention and wait list groups (Time effect, P = .03; time × group, P = .58). Body Image improved similarly in both groups at 13 weeks (time effect, P = .001; time × 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.

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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