Evaluating Prehabilitation Prior to Breast Cancer Treatment

Researchers investigated whether prehabilitation could yield improvements in physical and psychological wellbeing prior to treatment in women with breast cancer. After systematic review, they concluded that prehabilitation interventions should be implemented in patients diagnosed with breast cancer given the potential improvements they yield. The study’s findings were published in Breast Cancer Research and Therapy.

The systematic review was conducted under Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. A total of 14 studies on prehabilitation in patients with breast cancer, 7 randomized controlled trials, 5 quantitative non-randomized studies, 1 qualitative study, and 1 mixed-method study.

Prehabilitation Improves Physical and Psychological Wellbeing

Regarding interventions, 5 studies included complementary and alternative therapies, 4 included exercise programs, 2 included exercise components, 2 included smoking cessation, and 1 included multimodal prehabilitation. Complementary strategies included psychosocial, aromatherapy, traditional medicine, comprehensive nursing, and relaxation techniques, and 1 studied compared a mind-body prehabilitation program with an excercise intervention.

The authors reported that prehabilitation improved physical function, quality of life, and psychosocial outcomes (P<.05). Qualitative findings revealed a preference for multimodal prehabilitation interventions with diet and psychological support versus unimodal interventions, as well as an interest in receiving continued support.

Researchers also suggested that their study detailed, for the first-time, the presence of significant heterogeneity in prehabilitation strategies when it comes to administration, duration, and effectiveness parameters.

The authors ultimately summarized that “prehabilitation for patients with breast cancer is an emerging research area that appears to improve outcomes, however, ensuring that adequate intervention timeframes, follow-up, and population groups should be considered for future investigations.”

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