How do you bounce back after breast cancer? As outlined in a recent Dartmouth press release, a quarter to a third of breast-cancer survivors have trouble re-adjusting to life and "peak performance" once their health is stabilized. But new research shows that rehabilitation interventions can have a significant positive effect for these women.
The release goes on to say:
Almost one-third of breast cancer survivors experience difficulty after treatment when trying to resume previous levels of work, leisure, physical, and social activities. This is particularly true of women in young to middle adulthood. For them, cancer diagnosis comes at a time of high demands for peak performance at work and home, and correspondingly less flexibility in time and schedule.
The Dartmouth group's rehabilitation intervention was designed to help women find ways to accelerate recovery and engage in health-promoting activities. The study considered feasibility, acceptability to survivors, and efficacy in helping women to meet their goals.
Women were highly satisfied with the telephone-delivered intervention and primarily used the program to set weekly goals regarding exercise, work, better nutrition, taking care of themselves and their homes, managing stress, and social activities. The women met 71% of their weekly goals and showed improvements in quality of life, active coping, planning, and reframing.
Studies on the intervention, published in the Journal of Psychosocial Oncology and in Occupation, Participation, and Health, were led by Kathleen D. Lyons, ScD, professor of psychiatry at Dartmouth's Geisel School of Medicine and affiliated with its Norris Cotton Cancer Center, which funded the research. In total 48 women were enrolled, and the results were clear enough to warrant further research into similar recovery interventions that don't focus on pain-management.
"It was a complete pleasure and privilege to work with the study participants and give them a structure and some support while they found ways to create healthy and productive routines and lifestyles," Lyons says in the release.
Previously: Breast cancer patients are getting more bilateral mastectomies - but not any survival benefit, Red Sunshine: One doctor's journey to surviving stage 3 breast cancer, Wellness after cancer: Stanford opens clinic to address survivors' needs and A call for rehab services for cancer survivors
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