Student thesis: Master's Thesis



Background: During the active treatment of breast cancer, the patient and her immediate environment are under psychological pressure and changes may occur within the social network. Moreover, not all physical and psychosocial complaints disappear when active therapy stops. Because health-related quality of life has become an important focus in cancer survivorship policies, it is opportune to study interventions like oncologic rehabilitation programs to improve health-related quality of life following cancer treatment.

Purpose: The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of a 12-week multidisciplinary oncologic rehabilitation program on health-related quality of life in breast cancer survivors compared to patients with usual care.

Methods: Patients were divided into an intervention group (n = 132) and a control group (n = 46). The intervention group participated in a 12-week rehabilitation program consisting of physical training (48 hours) and psycho-educational sessions (24 hours). The control group did not participate in physical training or psycho-educational sessions. The main outcome of this study was health-related quality of life of breast cancer survivors. Three measure moments were scheduled: 0 months (= T0, before the intervention), 3 months after baseline measurements (= T1, after the rehabilitation program) and 6 months after baseline measurements (= T2, 3 months after T1 and 6 months after T0). The EORTC-QLQ-C30 Version 3 was used to measure health-related quality of life.

Results: Both groups experienced a significant improvement in overall health-related quality of life at T1 (p = 0,000 for intervention group and p = 0,026 for control group). At T1, significant improvement was observed for both groups for physical functioning (p = 0,000 for intervention group and p = 0,015 for control group), role functioning (p = 0,000 for intervention group and p = 0,006 for control group) and fatigue (p = 0,000 for intervention group and p = 0,037 for control group). At T1, significant improvement was observed only for the intervention group in global health (p = 0,000), emotional functioning (p = 0,000), cognitive functioning (p = 0,014) and social functioning (p = 0,000), and in symptoms for dyspnea (p = 0,000), insomnia (p = 0,000) and appetite loss (p = 0,015). At T2 no significant changes were found, except for global health for the control group (p = 0,035).

Conclusion: The study demonstrates that the multidisciplinary rehabilitation program gives better improvement in HRQOL than the usual care. Significant improvements were found in the intervention group compared to the control group after the program in global health, emotional functioning, cognitive functioning, social functioning, dyspnea, insomnia and appetite loss among women who have been treated for breast cancer.
Date of Award2018
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorReginald Deschepper (Promotor) & Roel Van Overmeire (Co-promotor)

Cite this