Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 12, Issue 12, pp 871–876 | Cite as

Tai Chi Chuan, health-related quality of life and self-esteem: A randomized trial with breast cancer survivors

  • Karen M. MustianEmail author
  • Jeffrey A. Katula
  • Diane L. Gill
  • Joseph A. Roscoe
  • David Lang
  • Karen Murphy
Original Article



Health-related quality of life (HRQL) and self-esteem are often diminished among women diagnosed and treated for breast cancer. Tai Chi is a moderate form of exercise that may be an effective therapy for improving HRQL and self-esteem among these women. We sought to compare the efficacy of Tai Chi Chuan (TCC) and psychosocial support (PST) for improving HRQL and self-esteem among breast cancer survivors.

Patients and methods

A group of 21 women diagnosed with breast cancer, who had completed treatment within the last 30 months were randomized to receive 12 weeks of TCC or PST. Participants in both groups met three times a week for 60 minutes. HRQL and self-esteem were assessed at baseline, 6 weeks, and 12 weeks.


The TCC group demonstrated significant improvements in HRQL, while the PST group reported declines in HRQL, with the differences between the two groups approaching significance at week 12. Additionally, the TCC group exhibited improvements in self-esteem, while the PST group reported declines in self-esteem, with the differences between groups reaching statistical significance at week 12. These findings, coupled with a visual inspection of the raw change scores, support the plausibility of a dose-response relationship concerning Tai Chi.


In this pilot investigation, the TCC group exhibited improvements in HRQL and self-esteem from baseline to 6 and 12 weeks, while the support group exhibited declines. Randomized, controlled clinical trials with larger sample sizes are needed.


Breast cancer Exercise Quality of life Self-esteem Tai Chi 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karen M. Mustian
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jeffrey A. Katula
    • 2
  • Diane L. Gill
    • 3
  • Joseph A. Roscoe
    • 1
  • David Lang
    • 3
  • Karen Murphy
    • 3
  1. 1.Behavioral Medicine Unit, Department of Radiation Oncology, James P. Wilmot Cancer CenterUniversity of Rochester School of Medicine and DentistryRochesterUSA
  2. 2.Department of Health and Exercise ScienceWake Forest UniversityWinston-SalemUSA
  3. 3.Department of Exercise and Sport ScienceUniversity of North Carolina at GreensboroGreensboroUSA

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