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J Clin Oncol. 2012 Nov 20;30(33):4124-33. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2012.41.8525. Epub 2012 Oct 8.

Efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy and physical exercise in alleviating treatment-induced menopausal symptoms in patients with breast cancer: results of a randomized, controlled, multicenter trial.

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  • 1Division of Psychosocial Research and Epidemiology, The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Plesmanlaan 121, 1066 CX Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

The purpose of our study was to evaluate the effect of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), physical exercise (PE), and of these two interventions combined (CBT/PE) on menopausal symptoms (primary outcome), body image, sexual functioning, psychological well-being, and health-related quality of life (secondary outcomes) in patients with breast cancer experiencing treatment-induced menopause.

PATIENTS AND METHODS:

Patients with breast cancer reporting treatment-induced menopausal symptoms (N=422) were randomly assigned to CBT (n=109), PE (n=104), CBT/PE (n=106), or to a waiting list control group (n=103). Self-report questionnaires were completed at baseline, 12 weeks, and 6 months. Multilevel procedures were used to compare the intervention groups with the control group over time.

RESULTS:

Compared with the control group, the intervention groups had a significant decrease in levels of endocrine symptoms (Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Endocrine Symptoms; P<.001; effect size, 0.31-0.52) and urinary symptoms (Bristol Female Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms Questionnaire; P=.002; effect size, 0.29-0.33), and they showed an improvement in physical functioning (36-Item Short Form Health Survey physical functioning subscale; P=.002; effect size, 0.37-0.46). The groups that included CBT also showed a significant decrease in the perceived burden of hot flashes and night sweats (problem rating scale of the Hot Flush Rating Scale; P<.001; effect size, 0.39-0.56) and an increase in sexual activity (Sexual Activity Questionnaire habit subscale; P=.027; effect size, 0.65). Most of these effects were observed at both the 12-week and 6-month follow-ups.

CONCLUSION:

CBT and PE can have salutary effects on endocrine symptoms and, to a lesser degree, on sexuality and physical functioning of patients with breast cancer experiencing treatment-induced menopause. Future work is needed to improve the design and the planning of these interventions to improve program adherence.

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PMID:
23045575
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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