Objective: To assess whether a self-care toolkit (SCT) provided to breast cancer patients undergoing surgery could mitigate distress and lessen symptoms associated with surgery. Design: One hundred women with breast cancer, planning to undergo initial surgery, were randomly assigned to either one of two groups: treatment as usual (TAU; n = 49) or TAU with the addition of an SCT (n = 51). The SCT contained an MP3 player with audio-files of guided mind-body techniques (breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, guided imagery, and self-hypnosis) and acupressure antinausea wristbands. Anxiety, pain, nausea, sleep, fatigue, global health, and quality of life (QOL) were assessed using validated outcome measures. Two inflammatory blood markers (erythrocyte sedimentation rate [ESR] and C-reactive protein [CRP]) were measured serially. Data were collected at baseline (T1), immediately before surgery (T2), within 10 h postoperatively (T3), and ∼2 weeks postsurgery (T4). Settings: Numerous studies have shown that psychological distress associated with a cancer diagnosis can affect pain perception and QOL. Results: Between T1 and T4, there were significant between-group differences in Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS)-57 scores of Pain Interference, Fatigue, and Satisfaction with Social Roles, favoring the SCT group compared with TAU (p = 0.005, p = 0.023, and p = 0.021, respectively). There was a significant mean change in Defense and Veterans Pain Rating Scale (DVPRS) scores from T2 to T3, with the SCT group having significantly smaller increases in postoperative pain (p = 0.008) and in postoperative ESR (p = 0.0197) compared with the TAU group. Clinically significant reductions in anxiety occurred in the SCT group during the main intervention period. Conclusion: These results suggest that using the SCT in the perioperative period decreased pain perceptions, fatigue, and inflammatory cytokine secretion.
- breast cancer
- mind-body skills
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Complementary and alternative medicine