Relaxation versus exercise for improved quality of life in lymphoma survivors : a randomised controlled trial

Hathiramani, S., Pettengell, R., Moir, H. and Younis, A. (2021) Relaxation versus exercise for improved quality of life in lymphoma survivors : a randomised controlled trial. Journal of Cancer Survivorship, 15, pp. 470-480. ISSN (print) 1932-2259


Purpose: Lymphoma survivors experience persisting needs as a consequence of disease and treatment, which have an impact on quality of life (QoL). There is evidence supporting the use of relaxation and exercise to improve QoL, but there is no agreement on which is more beneficial. This study aims to compare a relaxation intervention versus an exercise intervention to determine which has a greater impact on QoL post-chemotherapy. Methods: Eligible participants (n = 46) were randomised to a relaxation or exercise intervention for 12 weeks. QoL was assessed at baseline, 6 weeks and post-intervention using the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer QoL Questionnaire Core 30 (EORTC QLQ-C30) questionnaire, which is a valid and reliable tool. The summary score and all EORTC domains were assessed. Results: There was a significant difference in QoL post-intervention between groups (p = 0.029) while adjusting for baseline QoL, with the exercise group demonstrating a larger improvement. Within-group QoL significantly improved pre- to post-intervention in both the relaxation (p = 0.036) and exercise (p = 0.004) groups. Conclusions: A self-management intervention of either exercise or relaxation can help significantly improve QoL in lymphoma survivors following chemotherapy. While exercise is preferred, a relaxation intervention would also have a beneficial impact on QoL. Implications for Cancer Survivors: Lymphoma survivors should be routinely screened and those with decreased QoL referred for an exercise programme, or relaxation for survivors who are unable to exercise or choose not to. A home-based programme can have a significant positive impact on QoL and is a feasible and effective method in the current climate. Trial registration number: Clinical Trials ID NCT02272751

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