PURPOSE: To determine whether an Internet-based tailored education program is effective for disease-free cancer survivors with cancer-related fatigue (CRF).
PATIENTS AND METHODS: We randomly assigned patients who had completed primary cancer treatment within the past 24 months in any of four Korean hospitals and had reported moderate to severe fatigue for at least 1 week to participate in a 12-week, Internet-based, individually tailored CRF education program or to receive routine care. We based the program on the CRF guidelines of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and incorporated the transtheoretic model (TTM). At baseline and 12 weeks, we used the Brief Fatigue Inventory (BFI) and Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS) as primary outcomes and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire C30 (EORTC QLQ-C30) for secondary outcomes.
RESULTS: We recruited 273 participants and randomly assigned 136 to the intervention group. Compared with the control group, the intervention group had an improvement in fatigue as shown by a significantly greater decrease in BFI global score (-0.66 points; 95% CI -1.04 to -0.27) and FSS total score (-0.49; 95% CI, -0.78 to -0.21). In secondary outcomes, the intervention group experienced a significantly greater decrease in HADS anxiety score (-0.90; 95% CI, -1.51 to -0.29) as well as global quality of life (5.22; 95% CI, 0.93 to 9.50) and several functioning scores of the EORTC QLQ-C30.
CONCLUSION: An Internet-based education program based on NCCN guidelines and TTM may help patients manage CRF.
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