BACKGROUND: Small studies of variable quality suggest that massage therapy may relieve pain and other symptoms. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the efficacy of massage for decreasing pain and symptom distress and improving quality of life among persons with advanced cancer. DESIGN: Multisite, randomized clinical trial. SETTING: Population-based Palliative Care Research Network. PATIENTS: 380 adults with advanced cancer who were experiencing moderate-to-severe pain; 90% were enrolled in hospice. INTERVENTION: Six 30-minute massage or simple-touch sessions over 2 weeks. MEASUREMENTS: Primary outcomes were immediate (Memorial Pain Assessment Card, 0- to 10-point scale) and sustained (Brief Pain Inventory [BPI], 0- to 10-point scale) change in pain. Secondary outcomes were immediate change in mood (Memorial Pain Assessment Card) and 60-second heart and respiratory rates and sustained change in quality of life (McGill Quality of Life Questionnaire, 0- to 10-point scale), symptom distress (Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale, 0- to 4-point scale), and analgesic medication use (parenteral morphine equivalents [mg/d]). Immediate outcomes were obtained just before and after each treatment session. Sustained outcomes were obtained at baseline and weekly for 3 weeks.
Derived variable definitions
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