Context: Dyspnea is a common distressing symptom among patients with advanced cancer. Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the effect of fan therapy on dyspnea in patients with terminally ill cancer. Methods: This parallel-arm, randomized controlled trial included 40 patients with advanced cancer from a palliative care unit at the National Cancer Center Hospital in Japan. All patients experienced dyspnea at rest with a score of at least three points on a subjective 0- to 10-point Numerical Rating Scale (NRS), showed peripheral oxygen saturation levels of ≥90%, had an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group grade of 3 or 4, and were aged 20 years or more. In one group, a fan was directed to blow air on the patient's face for five minutes. This group was compared to a control group wherein air was blown to the patient's legs. Patients were randomly assigned to each group. The main outcome measure was the difference in dyspnea NRS scores between fan-to-face and fan-to-legs groups. Results: No significant differences were seen in baseline dyspnea NRS between groups (mean score, 5.3 vs. 5.1, P = 0.665). Mean dyspnea changed by −1.35 points (95% CI, −1.86 to −0.84) in patients assigned to receive fan-to-face and by −0.1 points (−0.53 to 0.33) in patients assigned to receive fan-to-legs (P < 0.001). The proportion of patients with a one-point reduction in dyspnea NRS was significantly higher in the fan-to-face arm than in the fan-to-legs arm (80% [n = 16] vs. 25% [n = 5], P = 0.001). Conclusion: Fan-to-face is effective in alleviating dyspnea in patients with terminally ill cancer.
- palliative care
- randomized controlled trial
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine