BACKGROUND: We compared the effect of a 12-week group-based multidisciplinary self-management rehabilitation program, combining physical training (twice weekly) and cognitive-behavioral therapy (once weekly) with the effect of 12-week group-based physical training (twice weekly) on cancer survivors' quality of life over a 1-year period.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: One hundred forty-seven survivors [48.8 +/- 10.9 years (mean +/- SD), all cancer types, medical treatment > or = 3 months ago] were randomly assigned to either physical training (PT, n = 71) or to physical training plus cognitive-behavioral therapy (PT + CBT, n = 76). Quality of life and physical activity levels were measured before and immediately after the intervention and at 3- and 9-month post-intervention using the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire C30 questionnaire and the Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly, respectively.

RESULTS: Multilevel linear mixed-effects models revealed no differential pattern in change of quality of life and physical activity between PT and PT + CBT. In both PT and PT + CBT, quality of life and physical activity were significantly and clinically relevantly improved immediately following the intervention and also at 3- and 9-month post-intervention compared to pre-intervention (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSION: Self-management physical training had substantial and durable positive effects on cancer survivors' quality of life. Participants maintained physical activity levels once the program was completed. Combining physical training with our cognitive-behavioral intervention did not add to these beneficial effects of physical training neither in the short-term nor in the long-term. Physical training should be implemented within the framework of standard care for cancer survivors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)653-663
JournalSupportive care in cancer : official journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2008


  • cancer
  • cognitive therapy
  • exercise therapy
  • quality of life
  • survivors
  • comparative study


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