The effects of martial arts on cancer-related fatigue and quality of life in cancer patients: An up-to-date systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trials

Daniel Sur, Shanthi Sabarimurugan, Shailesh Advani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: To evaluate and synthesize the existing evidence of the effects of practicing martial arts by cancer patients and cancer survivors in relation to overall quality of life (QoL) and cancer-related fatigue (CRF). Methods: Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) from 1 January 2000 to 5 November 2020 investigating the impact of martial arts were compared with any control intervention for overall QoL and CRF among cancer patients and survivors. Publication quality and risk of bias were assessed using the Cochrane handbook of systematic reviews. Results: According to the electronic search, 17 RCTs were retrieved including 1103 cancer patients. Martial arts significantly improved social function, compared to that in the control group (SMD = −0.88, 95% CI: −1.36, −0.39; p = 0.0004). Moreover, martial arts significantly improved functioning, compared to the control group (SMD = 0.68, 95% CI: 0.39–0.96; p < 0.00001). Martial arts significantly reduced CRF, compared to that in the control group (SMD = −0.51, 95% CI: −0.80, −0.22; p = 0.0005, I2 > 95%). Conclusions: The results of our systematic review and meta-analysis reveal that the effects of practicing martial arts on CRF and QoL in cancer patients and survivors are inconclusive. Some potential effects were seen for social function and CRF, although the results were inconsistent across different measurement methods. There is a need for larger and more homogeneous clinical trials encompassing different cancer types and specific martial arts disciplines to make more extensive and definitive cancer-and symptom-specific recommendations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6116
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume18
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021

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