Telehealth system: A randomized controlled trial evaluating the impact of an internet-based exercise intervention on quality of life, pain, muscle strength, and fatigue in breast cancer survivors.

The chronicity status of breast cancer survivors suggests a growing need for cancer rehabilitation. Currently, the use of technology is a promising strategy for providing support, as reflected in the emergence of research interest in Web-based interventions in cancer survivorship. A randomized controlled trial was conducted that included a total of 81 participants who had completed adjuvant therapy (except hormone treatment) for stage I to IIIA breast cancer. Participants were randomly assigned to an 8-week Internet-based, tailored exercise program (n = 40) or to a control group (n = 41).The instruments used at baseline, 8 weeks, and 6-month follow-up were the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality-of-Life Questionnaire Core 30 and its breast cancer module, the Brief Pain Inventory, the handgrip dynamometer, the isometric abdominal test, the back dynamometer, the multiple sit-to-stand test, and the Piper Fatigue Scale. After the intervention, the telerehabilitation group had significantly improved scores for global health status, physical, role, cognitive functioning, and arm symptoms (all P < .01) as well as pain severity (P = .001) and pain interference (P = .045) compared with the control group. Significant improvements also were observed favoring the telerehabilitation group for affected and nonaffected side handgrip (both P = .006), abdominal, back and lower body strength (all P < .01), and total fatigue (P < .001). These findings were maintained after 6 months of follow-up, except for role functioning, pain severity, and nonaffected side handgrip. Analysis was based on an intention-to-treat principle.

This program may improve adverse effects and maintain benefits in breast cancer survivors. The results of this study have encouraging implications for cancer care.