Quality of life after self-management cancer rehabilitation: a randomized controlled trial comparing physical and cognitive-behavioral training versus physical training

Irene Korstjens, Anne M May, Ellen van Weert, Ilse Mesters, Frans Tan, Wynand J G Ros, Josette E H M Hoekstra-Weebers, Cees van der Schans, Bart van den Borne

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OBJECTIVE: To conduct a randomized controlled trial and compare the effects on cancer survivors' quality of life in a 12-week group-based multidisciplinary self-management rehabilitation program, combining physical training (twice weekly) and cognitive-behavioral training (once weekly) with those of a 12-week group-based physical training (twice weekly). In addition, both interventions were compared with no intervention.

METHODS: Participants (all cancer types, medical treatment completed > or = 3 months ago) were randomly assigned to multidisciplinary rehabilitation (n = 76) or physical training (n = 71). The nonintervention comparison group consisted of 62 patients on a waiting list. Quality of life was measured using the RAND-36. The rehabilitation groups were measured at baseline, after rehabilitation, and 3-month follow-up, and the nonintervention group was measured at baseline and 12 weeks later.

RESULTS: The effects of multidisciplinary rehabilitation did not outperform those of physical training in role limitations due to emotional problem (primary outcome) or any other domains of quality of life (all p > .05). Compared with no intervention, participants in both rehabilitation groups showed significant and clinically relevant improvements in role limitations due to physical problem (primary outcome; effect size (ES) = 0.66), and in physical functioning (ES = 0.48), vitality (ES = 0.54), and health change (ES = 0.76) (all p < .01).

CONCLUSIONS: Adding a cognitive-behavioral training to group-based self-management physical training did not have additional beneficial effects on cancer survivors' quality of life. Compared with the nonintervention group, the group-based self-management rehabilitation improved cancer survivors' quality of life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)422-429
JournalPsychosomatic medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2008



  • cancer
  • rehabilitation
  • quality of life

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