Effectiveness of slow deep breathing exercises on fatigue in patients undergoing chemotherapy


Author(s): Zahraa Jasim Alwan* and Hassan Abdullah Athbi

Background: Fatigue is one of the most common distressing side effects of cancer and its treatment. Cancer-related fatigue disrupts many aspects of a patient's quality of life. Objectives: This study is designed to examine the effectiveness of slow deep breathing exercises on fatigue in patients undergoing chemotherapy. Methods: A quasi-experimental study was conducted from September 26th, 2022, to June 12th, 2023, at the Imam Al-Hussein Center for Oncology and Hematology and the oncology wards of Imam Al-Hassan Al-Mujtaba Teaching Hospital, Kerbala, Iraq. Forty-eight patients with cancer undergoing chemotherapy were divided into two groups of 23 and 25 as intervention and control groups, respectively. Patients in the intervention group performed slow, deep breathing exercises for 7 days. The control group's patients received routine conventional care. Both a descriptive analysis procedure (e.g., frequency, percentage, and mean of score) and an inferential analysis procedure (e.g., paired sample T-test, independent sample T-test) were used to examine and measure the study results; a p-value of <0.05 was determined to be statistically significant. Results: Most of the participants were in the age group of 51 years–60 years old. More than one-third (39.1%) of the participants in the intervention group had breast cancer, and 34.8% of them had gastrointestinal cancer, while 24% of the control group had gastrointestinal cancer. At the pre-test, 60.9% of participants in the intervention group had a high fatigue level, and 39.1% presented with a borderline fatigue level. However, after the intervention, 56.5% of patients in the intervention group had a borderline fatigue level, and 43.5% did not have fatigue. A significant difference at a P-value ≤ 0.001 was found between the post-test and pre-test of the intervention of slow, deep breathing exercises. Conclusion: Slow, deep breathing exercises can be effectively used for 15 minutes-20 minutes twice daily for seven days to reduce fatigue levels among patients receiving chemotherapy.

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Editors List

  • Prof. Elhadi Miskeen

    Obstetrics and Gynaecology Faculty of Medicine, University of Bisha, Saudi Arabia

  • Ahmed Hussien Alshewered

    University of Basrah College of Medicine, Iraq

  • Sudhakar Tummala

    Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering SRM University – AP, Andhra Pradesh




  • Alphonse Laya

    Supervisor of Biochemistry Lab and PhD. students of Faculty of Science, Department of Chemistry and Department of Chemis


  • Fava Maria Giovanna


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