Khan, F., Amatya, B., Pallant, J.F., Rajapaksa, I., & Brand, C. (2012). Multidisciplinary rehabilitation in women following breast cancer treatment: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, 44, 788–794.doi: 10.2340/16501977-1020
To assess effectiveness of an ambulatory rehabilitation program for women with breast cancer
A sample of patients referred to a rehabilitation center was selected based on criteria of diagnosis of breast cancer, considered to be disease free. Patients were then randomly assigned to an intervention group or a control group that continued with usual activity in the community. The rehabilitation program was conducted three to five days per week for up to eight weeks and was aimed at improving activity and participation in activities. Interventions included physiotherapy, lymphedema care, occupational therapy, and clinical psychology for counseling and support. Study assessments were done at baseline and at four months after program completion.
Patients were undergoing multiple phases of care.
A randomized, single-blind, controlled trial design was used.
Out of 42 patients, 31 completed the rehabilitation program. Over the study period, more patients in the treatment group showed a decrease in depression scores compared with the control group (p = 0.02). Intervention group patients also showed significant differences in impact profile scores (p = 0.05). There were no differences between groups in anxiety or FIM scores.
Findings suggest that comprehensive multidisciplinary rehabilitation may improve depression among women with breast cancer.
Some patients may benefit from a multidisciplinary rehabilitation program after breast cancer treatment. This study provides some evidence in support of this approach, but has several limitations. Further research is needed to determine the benefit versus cost of such programs.