A multimodal physiotherapy programme plus deep water running for improving cancer-related fatigue and quality of life in breast cancer survivors


  • Notes on contribution

    All the authors have made significant contributions to the article. AIC-V coordinated the project and contributed to the conception and design of this study, was responsible of the acquisition of data, screened articles and drafted the manuscript. JB reviewed and edited the manuscript and contributed to the analysis and interpretation of data, MA-M made substantial contributions to the critical revision of the paper.


The aim of the study was to assess the feasibility and effectiveness of aquatic-based exercise in the form of deep water running (DWR) as part of a multimodal physiotherapy programme (MMPP) for breast cancer survivors. A controlled clinical trial was conducted in 42 primary breast cancer survivors recruited from community-based Primary Care Centres. Patients in the experimental group received a MMPP incorporating DWR, 3 times a week, for an 8-week period. The control group received a leaflet containing instructions to continue with normal activities. Statistically significant improvements and intergroup effect size were found for the experimental group for Piper Fatigue Scale-Revised total score (d = 0.7, P = 0.001), as well as behavioural/severity (d = 0.6, P = 0.05), affective/meaning (d = 1.0, P = 0.001) and sensory (d = 0.3, P = 0.03) domains. Statistically significant differences between the experimental and control groups were also found for general health (d = 0.5, P < 0.05) and quality of life (d = 1.3, P < 0.05). All participants attended over 80% of sessions, with no major adverse events reported. The results of this study suggest MMPP incorporating DWR decreases cancer-related fatigue and improves general health and quality of life in breast cancer survivors. Further, the high level of adherence and lack of adverse events indicate such a programme is safe and feasible.