Psycho-Oncological Intervention in Breast Cancer Patients- AQuantitative Analysis of Tumor Associated Fatigue Treatment
Background: Tumor-associated-fatigue (TAF) is not a new concept, but no real headway has been made in the quantitative analysis of its treatment. Multimodal approaches are currently being used including increased physical activity, pharmaceutical therapy, and psycho-oncological intervention. This study focused on developing a simple, reproducible protocol for the psycho-oncological support of tumor associated fatigue patients.
Methods: Between the year 2011 and 2012, 23 breast cancer patients fulfilled the diagnosis TAF requirements and were introduced into this study. Our method focused on a psycho-oncological support group using a predetermined, highly structured and reproducible treatment manual. Tumor fatigue specific questionnaires such as the multidimensional fatigue inventory (MFI) as well as the hospital anxiety and depression scale (HADS) were used in order to quantitatively evaluate patient TAF.
Results: Of the 23 patients enrolled in the study, only 7 patients fulfilled the TAF diagnostic criteria after the psycho-oncological group treatment. This represents a 70% reduction in diagnosable tumor associated fatigue. The HADS analysis showed a 33% reduction in patient anxiety as well as a 57% reduction in patient depression levels. The MFI scores showed a significant reduction in 4 of 5 evaluate categories. With the exception of the „mental fatigue” MFI category, results were statistically significant.
Conclusion: This study showed that a highly structured, psycho-oncological group intervention will produce significant improvements in breast cancer patient tumor associated fatigue levels after only 8 sessions. This intervention should be recommended as a standard of care for TAF patients.