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Exercise and psychological counseling could ease cancer-related fatigue
Date:10/23/2007

Cancer patients suffering from symptoms of fatigue might find some relief through regular exercise and psychological counseling to deal with stress, according to a new review.

Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of patients with cancer and those undergoing treatment with radiation and chemotherapy. According to the American Cancer Society, 90 percent of patients in cancer treatment experience fatigue that can range from mild lethargy to feeling completely wiped out.

The reviewers, led by Paul Jacobsen of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla., said that fatigue affects patients quality of life, with one-third feeling that it, interferes with their ability to work, relationships with others and physical and emotional well-being.

There has been growing interest in helping these patients manage the symptoms of exhaustion with nonpharmacological treatments, and the systematic review aimed to determine the effectiveness of psychological therapy and exercise in meeting the goal.

The review appears in the November issue of the journal Health Psychology. Each evidence-based review in this series centers on a specific psychological assessment or treatment conducted in the context of a physical disease process or risk reduction effort.

The reviewers evaluated 41 studies. Of these, 17 looked at activity-based interventions in which patients either performed supervised or home-based exercises three to five times a week, for exercise periods that ranged from 10 to 26 weeks. Some of these studies included patients undergoing or about to start cancer treatment, while others were comprised only patients who had completed treatment.

Twenty-four studies evaluated psychological interventions. There were a variety of types of interventions, including techniques such as weekly telephone counseling about how to conserve energy and group therapy to teach skills like stress management and relaxation training.
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Contact: Lisa Esposito
hbns-editor@cfah.org
Center for the Advancement of Health
Source:Eurekalert

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