Randomized controlled trial of a cognitive-behavioral therapy plus hypnosis intervention to control fatigue in patients undergoing radiotherapy for breast cancer

Guy H. Montgomery*, Daniel David, Maria Kangas, Sheryl Green, Madalina Sucala, Dana H. Bovbjerg, Michael N. Hallquist, Julie B. Schnur

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

51 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

PURPOSE: The objective of this study was to test the efficacy of cognitive-behavioral therapy plus hypnosis (CBTH) to control fatigue in patients with breast cancer undergoing radiotherapy. We hypothesized that patients in the CBTH group receiving radiotherapy would have lower levels of fatigue than patients in an attention control group.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Patients (n = 200) were randomly assigned to either the CBTH (n = 100; mean age, 55.59 years) or attention control (n = 100; mean age, 55.97 years) group. Fatigue was measured at four time points (baseline, end of radiotherapy, 4 weeks, and 6 months after radiotherapy). Fatigue was measured using the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy (FACIT) -Fatigue subscale and Visual Analog Scales (VASs; Fatigue and Muscle Weakness).

RESULTS: The CBTH group had significantly lower levels of fatigue (FACIT) at the end of radiotherapy (z, 6.73; P < .001), 4-week follow-up (z, 6.98; P < .001), and 6-month follow-up (z, 7.99; P < .001) assessments. Fatigue VAS scores were significantly lower in the CBTH group at the end of treatment (z, 5.81; P < .001) and at the 6-month follow-up (z, 4.56; P < .001), but not at the 4-week follow-up (P < .07). Muscle Weakness VAS scores were significantly lower in the CBTH group at the end of treatment (z, 9.30; P < .001) and at the 6-month follow-up (z, 3.10; P < .02), but not at the 4-week follow-up (P < .13).

CONCLUSION: The results support CBTH as an evidence-based intervention to control fatigue in patients undergoing radiotherapy for breast cancer. CBTH is noninvasive, has no adverse effects, and its beneficial effects persist long after the last intervention session. CBTH seems to be a candidate for future dissemination and implementation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)557-563
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Volume32
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2014

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