INTRODUCTION Patients with cancer frequently suffer from emotional distress, characterized by psychological symptoms such as anxiety or depression. The presence of psychological symptoms combined with the complex nature of oncology processes can negatively impact patients' quality of life. We aimed to determine the impact of a relaxation protocol on improving quality of life in a sample of oncological patients treated in the Spanish National Public Health System. MATERIALS AND METHODS We conducted a multicenter interventional study without a control group. In total, 272 patients with different oncologic pathologies and showing symptoms of anxiety were recruited from 10 Spanish public hospitals. The intervention comprised abbreviated progressive muscle relaxation training, according to Bernstein and Borkovec. This was followed by weekly telephone calls to each patient over a 1-month period. We collected sociodemographic variables related to the disease process, including information about mental health and the intervention. Patients' quality of life was assessed using the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General (FACT-G) questionnaire. Bivariate and univariate analyses were performed, along with an analysis of multiple correspondences to identify subgroups of patients with similar variations on the FACT-G. RESULTS Patients showed statistically significant improvements on the FACT-G overall score (W = 16806; p<0.001), with an initial mean score of 55.33±10.42 and a final mean score of 64.49±7.70. We also found significant improvements for all subscales: emotional wellbeing (W = 13118; p<0.001), functional wellbeing (W = 16155.5; p<0.001), physical wellbeing (W = 8885.5; p<0.001), and social and family context (W = -1840; p = 0.037). CONCLUSIONS Patients with cancer who learned and practiced abbreviated progressive muscle relaxation experienced improvement in their perceived quality of life as measured by the FACT-G. Our findings support a previous assumption that complementary techniques (including relaxation techniques) are effective in improving the quality of life of patients with cancer.
Parás-Bravo, P., Salvadores-Fuentes, P., Alonso-Blanco, C., Paz-Zulueta, M., Santibañez-Margüello, M., Palacios-Ceña, D., … Fernández-De-Las-Peñas, C. (2017). The impact of muscle relaxation techniques on the quality of life of cancer patients, as measured by the FACT-G questionnaire. PLoS ONE, 12(10). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0184147