Art therapy using famous painting appreciation maintains fatigue levels during radiotherapy in cancer patients

  • Koom, Woong Sub (Department of Radiation Oncology, Yonsei University College of Medicine) ;
  • Choi, Mi Yeon (Graduate School of Clinical Art Therapy, CHA University) ;
  • Lee, Jeongshim (Department of Radiation Oncology, Yonsei University College of Medicine) ;
  • Park, Eun Jung (Graduate School of Clinical Art Therapy, CHA University) ;
  • Kim, Ju Hye (Graduate School of Clinical Art Therapy, CHA University) ;
  • Kim, Sun-Hyun (Graduate School of Clinical Art Therapy, CHA University) ;
  • Kim, Yong Bae (Department of Radiation Oncology, Yonsei University College of Medicine)
  • Received : 2016.04.01
  • Accepted : 2016.05.09
  • Published : 2016.06.30


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of art therapy to control fatigue in cancer patients during course of radiotherapy and its impact on quality of life (QoL). Materials and Methods: Fifty cancer patients receiving radiotherapy received weekly art therapy sessions using famous painting appreciation. Fatigue and QoL were assessed using the Brief Fatigue Inventory (BFI) Scale and the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Fatigue (FACIT-F) at baseline before starting radiotherapy, every week for 4 weeks during radiotherapy, and at the end of radiotherapy. Mean changes of scores over time were analyzed using a generalized linear mixed model. Results: Of the 50 patients, 34 (68%) participated in 4 sessions of art therapy. Generalized linear mixed models testing for the effect of time on mean score changes showed no significant changes in scores from baseline for the BFI and FACIT-F. The mean BFI score and FACIT-F total score changed from 3.1 to 2.7 and from 110.7 to 109.2, respectively. Art therapy based on the appreciation of famous paintings led to increases in self-esteem by increasing self-realization and forming social relationships. Conclusion: Fatigue and QoL in cancer patients with art therapy do not deteriorate during a period of radiotherapy. Despite the single-arm small number of participants and pilot design, this study provides a strong initial demonstration that art therapy of appreciation for famous painting is worthy of further study for fatigue and QoL improvement. Further, it can play an important role in routine practice in cancer patients during radiotherapy.


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