Content » Vol 44, Issue 9

Original report

Multidisciplinary rehabilitation in women following breast cancer treatment: A randomized controlled trial

Fary Khan, Bhasker Amatya, Julie F. Pallant, Ishani Rajapaksa, Caroline Brand
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Royal, Melbourne Hospital, Poplar Road, Parkville, Melbourne VIC 3052, Australia. E-mail:
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-1020


Objective: To assess the effectiveness of a multidisciplinary ambulatory rehabilitation programme for women following definitive breast cancer treatment in an Australian community cohort.
Methods: Eighty-five women in the community randomized to a treatment group (n = 43) for individualized high-intensity programme, or a control group (n = 42) comprising usual activity. The primary outcome Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS) scale measured restriction in participation. Secondary measures included Perceived Impact Problem Profile (PIPP) and Cancer Rehabilitation Evaluation System Short-Form (CARES-SF); and Functional Independence Measure (FIM) motor subscale for activity limitation. Assessments were at baseline and 4 months.
Results: Intention-to-treat analysis of data showed a significant difference between both groups in DASS Depression scores (p = 0.006) (moderate effect size, r > 0.3), PIPP Mobility (p = 0.05) and Participation (p = 0.04) scales, and CARES-SF Global score (p = 0.02) (small effect size, r < 0.3). The treatment group, compared with control group, showed significant improvement in the DASS Depression scores: 22/42 (52.4%) vs 12/37 (32.4%) (p = 0.02). No difference between groups was noted in the FIM scale.
Conclusion: Rehabilitation can benefit participation in breast cancer survivors. Evidence for specific rehabilitation interventions is needed. Integrated cancer programmes allow opportunities to evaluate patients in various settings, but require outcome research to develop service models for survivorship issues.

Lay Abstract


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