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Dance to Fight Fatigue

Posted 7/26/2014

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  I have been thinking about the pleasures of dancing over the last couple of days because of my visiting 5 year old granddaughter. She is figuratively and often literally dancing her way through life: pirouetting across the kitchen, leaping with semi-pointed toes in the garden, swaying rather than standing still. The visuals are even better when she is dressed in various dress up combinations of sparkles and scarves and bright colors.

  When I was raising my own girls, we often danced in the kitchen, and it is a huge pleasure to see watch this happening again with the next generation. May many generations of dancing mothers and daughters, be bopping to Motown or rock and roll or show tunes, grace our homes. Anyway, this has been going on, so I was especially primed and delighted to see this study from Supportive Cancer Care suggesting that dance may be an effective antidote to cancer fatigue.

  Of course! This feels like such an obvious conclusion that I am embarrassed that it had not occurred to me in quite this way. I write and talk and think often about the importance of exercise and combining that with music and friends has to be an ideal way to get moving. Here is the abstract; I am unable to post the link, so email me if you would like the complete article.

Effect of dance on cancer-related fatigue and quality of life
Isrid Sturm & Johanna Baak & Benjamin Storek &
Annette Traore & Peter Thuss-Patience

Purpose Cancer-related fatigue is a multidimensional
symptom with an underestimated prevalence and severity
in cancer patients. The aim of the study was to evaluate the
effect of dance as a holistic sportive activity in cancer
patients under active anticancer treatment with fatigue as
Patients and methods Forty patients under active anticancer
treatment (adjuvant (25), palliative (11) or neoadjuvant (4))
with moderate or severe fatigue (≥4 on the visual analogue
scale) were investigated in two groups for severity of fatigue
(visual analogue scale, Functional Assessment of Chronic
Illness Therapy: Fatigue questionnaire), quality of life (European
Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer,
Quality of Life Questionnaire) and physical performance (6-
minute walk test) before and after the study period—group A
(n=20): intervention (10 dance classes in 5 weeks in addition
to counseling) and group B (n=20): control (no dance, standard
of care, counseling).
Results We found significant improvements for cancer-related
fatigue in the intervention group (baseline mean±SD 5.95±
1.701, end-of-study mean 3.8±1.542, p=0.001, reduction of
36 %) compared to the control group (baseline mean 4.95±
0.999, end-of-study mean unchanged at 5.0±1.556, p=
0.887); as well as for emotional and social functioning scales
and physical performance (p<0.05).
Conclusion Dance might be an appropriate, effective approach
for treatment of cancer-related fatigue.


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