Effects of chronotype-tailored bright light intervention on post-treatment symptoms and quality of life in breast cancer survivors

Horng Shiuann Wu, Feng Gao, Jean E. Davis, Charles W. Given

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Bright light therapy holds promise for reducing common symptoms, e.g., fatigue, experienced by individuals with cancer. This study aimed to examine the effects of a chronotype-tailored bright light intervention on sleep disturbance, fatigue, depressive mood, cognitive dysfunction, and quality of life among post-treatment breast cancer survivors. Methods: In this two-group randomized controlled trial (NCT03304587), participants were randomized to receive 30-min daily bright blue-green light (12,000 lx) or dim red light (5 lx) either between 19:00 and 20:00 h or within 30 min of waking in the morning. Self-reported outcomes and in-lab overnight polysomnography sleep study were assessed before (pre-test) and after the 14-day light intervention (post-test). Results: The sample included 30 women 1–3 years post-completion of chemotherapy and/or radiation for stage I to III breast cancer (mean age = 52.5 ± 8.4 years). There were no significant between-group differences in any of the symptoms or quality of life (all p > 0.05). However, within each group, self-reported sleep disturbance, fatigue, depressive mood, cognitive dysfunction, and quality of life-related functioning showed significant improvements over time (all p < 0.05); the extent of improvement for fatigue and depressive mood was clinically relevant. Polysomnography sleep findings showed that a number of awakenings significantly decreased (p = 0.011) among participants who received bright light, while stage 2 sleep significantly increased (p = 0.015) among participants who received dim-red light. Conclusion: The findings support using light therapy to manage post-treatment symptoms in breast cancer survivors. The unexpected symptom improvements among dim-red light controls remain unexplained and require further investigation. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03304587, October 19, 2017.

Original languageEnglish
Article number705
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Volume31
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2023

Keywords

  • Bright light
  • Cancer symptom
  • Chronotype
  • Polysomnography
  • Quality of life
  • Survivorship

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