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A Brief Intervention for Fatigue Management in Breast Cancer Survivors

Fillion, Lise PhD; Gagnon, Pierre MD; Leblond, Francine RN; Gélinas, Céline PhD; Savard, Josée PhD; Dupuis, Réjeanne MA, MEd; Duval, Karine BA; Larochelle, Marie MD

doi: 10.1097/01.NCC.0000305698.97625.95

The purpose of this randomized control trial was to verify the effectiveness of a brief group intervention that combines stress management psycho-education and physical activity (ie, independent variable) intervention in reducing fatigue and improving energy level, quality of life (mental and physical), fitness (VO2submax), and emotional distress (ie, dependent variables) in breast cancer survivors. This study applied Lazarus and Folkman stress-coping theoretical framework, as well as Salmon's unifying theory of physical activity. Eighty-seven French-speaking women who had completed their treatments for nonmetastatic breast cancer at a university hospital in Quebec City, Canada, were randomly assigned to either the group intervention (experimental) or the usual-care (control) condition. Data were collected at baseline, postintervention, and at 3-month follow-up. The 4-week group intervention was cofacilitated by 2 nurses. Results showed that participants in the intervention group showed greater improvement in fatigue, energy level, and emotional distress at 3-month follow-up, and physical quality of life at postintervention, compared with the participants in the control group. These results suggest that a brief psycho-educational group intervention focusing on active coping strategies and physical activity is beneficial to cancer survivors after breast cancer treatments.

Authors' Affiliations: Laval University, Faculty of Nursing (Drs Fillion, Gélinas, Savard), Cancer Research Centre (CRC), CHUQ (Drs Fillion, Gagnon, Gélinas, Ms Duval, Ms Leblond), Faculty of Pharmacy and Department of Psychiatry (Dr Gagnon), and School of Psychology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada (Dr Savard); Centre hospitalier universitaire de Québec (CHUQ), Quebec City, Quebec, Canada (Drs Gagnon and Larochelle); Centre hospitalier affilié (CHA) de l'Hôtel-Dieu de Lévis, Lévis, Canada (Ms Leblond); and the Department of Psychology, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Dr Dupuis).

Supported by grant 03-1102-014404-104 from the "Fonds de recherche en santé du Québec" (FRSQ) and by an Investigator Award to Lise Fillion.

Corresponding author: Lise Fillion, PhD, Faculty of Nursing, Laval University, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada G1K 7P4 (

Accepted for publication August 22, 2007.

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.