Anuradha Chakravarthy
Faculty Member
Last active: 3/27/2014

A randomized placebo-controlled pilot study of the impact of healing touch on fatigue in breast cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy.

FitzHenry F, Wells N, Slater V, Dietrich MS, Wisawatapnimit P, Chakravarthy AB
Integr Cancer Ther. 2014 13 (2): 105-13

PMID: 24105358 · DOI:10.1177/1534735413503545

PURPOSE - This is a pilot study investigating the effect of healing touch (HT) on fatigue in breast cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy (RT).

METHODS/DESIGN - This study presents the results of a within-subjects design randomized clinical trial where the treatment group was treated with HT, whereas the control group experienced sham therapy. The setting was a university RT clinic. The participants were breast cancer patients treated with lumpectomy or mastectomy, 21 to 75 years old with an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) score of 0 to 2. The intervention was a 45-minute session of HT or sham therapy once a week during RT. Outcome measures included fatigue, quality of life (QOL), and anxiety/depression.

RESULT - A total of 70 patients were approached, with 41 completing the study. At completion, the HT participants tended to report higher levels of fatigue, statistically significant for interference ( : = .010) and usual fatigue ( : = .024). The control group tended to report greater reductions in fatigue relative to their own means than the HT group (Cohen's : = 0.30 to 0.49 vs 0.06 to 0.18, respectively). There were no statistically significant differences between the groups for QOL.

CONCLUSION - Our enrollment and retention indicate that HT is feasible for women during RT. Our pilot findings do not support a beneficial effect of HT on fatigue or QOL. Future research may explore increasing dose and teasing out therapist effect.

MeSH Terms (8)

Breast Neoplasms Fatigue Female Humans Pilot Projects Quality of Life Therapeutic Touch Treatment Outcome

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