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Eur J Cancer Care (Engl). 2009 Jan;18(1):69-77. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2354.2008.00952.x.

Art therapy improves experienced quality of life among women undergoing treatment for breast cancer: a randomized controlled study.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Sciences, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.


Women with breast cancer are naturally exposed to strain related to diagnosis and treatment, and this influences their experienced quality of life (QoL). The present paper reports the effect, with regard to QoL aspects, of an art therapy intervention among 41 women undergoing radiotherapy treatment for breast cancer. The women were randomized to an intervention group with individual art therapy sessions for 1 h/week (n = 20), or to a control group (n = 21). The WHOQOL-BREF and EORTC Quality of Life Questionnaire-BR23, were used for QoL assessment, and administrated on three measurement occasions, before the start of radiotherapy and 2 and 6 months later. The results indicate an overall improvement in QoL aspects among women in the intervention group. A significant increase in total health, total QoL, physical health and psychological health was observed in the art therapy group. A significant positive difference within the art therapy group was also seen, concerning future perspectives, body image and systemic therapy side effects. The present study provides strong support for the use of art therapy to improve QoL for women undergoing radiotherapy treatment for breast cancer.

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