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Cancer Nurs. 2008 May-Jun;31(3):214-21. doi: 10.1097/01.NCC.0000305725.65345.f3.

A hospital-based intervention using massage to reduce distress among oncology patients.

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Supportive Services, Curtis and Elizabeth Anderson Cancer Institute, Memorial Health University Medical Center, Savannah, GA 31403, USA.


The objective of this study was to assess the impact of a Swedish massage intervention on oncology patients' perceived level of distress. Each patient's distress level was measured using 4 distinct dimensions: pain, physical discomfort, emotional discomfort, and fatigue. A total of 251 oncology patients volunteered to participate in this nonrandomized single-group pre- and post design study for over a 3-year period at a university hospital setting in southeastern Georgia. The analysis found a statistically significant reduction in patient-reported distress for all 4 measures: pain (F = 638.208, P = .000), physical discomfort (F = 742.575, P = .000), emotional discomfort (F = 512.000, P = .000), and fatigue (F = 597.976, P = .000). This reduction in patient distress was observed regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, or cancer type. These results lend support for the inclusion of a complementary massage therapy program for hospitalized oncology patients as a means of enhancing their course of treatment.

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