Study: Online Counseling Could Help Decrease Cancer-Related Fatigue

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Web-based counseling could help cancer survivors manage daily fatigue, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Reuters reports.

Study Details

For the study, Korean researchers assessed 273 participants who had been treated for cancer within the past two years.

Half of the participants were randomly assigned to use a Web-based educational program, and the other half were put on a waiting list.

The online program provided users with personalized instruction on:

  • Conserving energy;
  • Exercise;
  • Nutrition;
  • Sleeping habits; and
  • Stress management.

Study Results

After 12 weeks, participants using the Web-based program reported experiencing less fatigue and a higher quality of life than those not using the online program.

The study also found that:

  • 56% of participants using the online program who began the study with moderate to severe fatigue reported a "clinically meaningful" improvement -- indicating noticeable changes in everyday life -- compared with 45% of participants on the waiting list who began the study with moderate to severe fatigue; and
  • 42% of all participants using the online program reported improvement in their "worst fatigue," compared with 33% of participants on the waiting list.

Comments

Lead researcher Young Ho Yun of Seoul National University College of Medicine said the findings suggest that Web-based programs could provide cancer survivors with an easier way to cope with lingering symptoms.

Yun said, "The program can allow users to obtain information from the Web pages at their own pace and to review material as needed, averting the information overload that sometimes occurs during face-to-face counseling" (Norton, Reuters, 3/21).


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