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Cognitive behavioural strategies yield modest reductions in symptoms in advanced cancer

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Cognitive behavioural strategies (CBS) may provide only small therapeutic relief for advanced cancer patients receiving treatment and experiencing co-occurring pain, sleep disturbance and fatigue, a recent study has found.

Researchers enrolled 164 advanced cancer patients who were undergoing chemotherapy. Participants randomly received a CBS intervention (n=85; mean age 58.44±9.89 years; 72 percent female), involving nature imagery and relaxation exercises, or cancer education (n=79; mean age 58.61±9.03 years; 75 percent female), which included recordings of educational materials.

Groups demonstrated statistically comparable symptom cluster severity scores at follow-up weeks 3, 6 and 9. The same was true for symptom cluster scores for interference with daily life. In terms of symptom cluster distress, the CBS group showed significantly lower mean scores at week 6 (1.82 vs 2.15; p=0.04), but scores were similar at weeks 3 and 9.

In comparison, user perception was better for the CBS intervention, which more participants enjoyed than the cancer education control (67 percent vs 36 percent). Similarly, more participants in the CBS group reported perceived improvement in symptoms (65 percent vs 18 percent) and felt greater control over their symptoms (46 percent vs 24 percent).

“The CBS intervention may provide some small therapeutic benefit for patients experiencing co-occurring pain, fatigue and sleep disturbance. Clinicians can encourage self-management of this symptom cluster by identifying strategies that reduce stress, enhance positive expectations and foster perceptions of personal control over symptoms,” said researchers.

Future studies should focus on the development of effective interventions and strategies that may help relieve the burden of co-occurring symptoms, they added.

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Most Read Articles
Natalia Reoutova, 2 days ago

A retrospective analysis of seven clinical trials demonstrated that neratinib-based therapy is safe and effective in Asian patients with metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer.

Christina Lau, 14 Feb 2019
Progress in the treatment of rare cancers has been named Advance of the Year by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).
Pearl Toh, 28 Aug 2019
The addition of radium-223 (Ra223) to enzalutamide for the treatment of mCRPC* was associated with increased fracture risk, which was entirely abolished with mandated use of bone-protecting agents (BPAs) such as zoledronic acid and denosumab, according to interim results of the EORTC 1333 (PEACE III) trial.
Audrey Abella, 28 Aug 2019
A pooled analysis of six trials failed to show noninferiority of a 3-month regimen to a 6-month regimen of oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy for patients with high-risk, stage II colorectal cancer (CRC).