Impact of Tai Ji Quan or Strength Training vs Stretching in Preventing Falls in Postmenopausal Women Who Received Chemotherapy for Cancer

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In the GET FIT study reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Winters-Stone et al found no significant difference in incidence of falls with programs of tai ji quan (also known as tai chi) or strength training vs a stretching control group among postmenopausal women who had received chemotherapy for cancer.

Study Details

In the study, 442 physically underactive women aged 50 to 75 years who completed chemotherapy ≥ 3 months before study entry were enrolled between 2013 and  2018 at the Oregon Health and Science University and community sites. Patients were randomly assigned 1:1:1 to supervised group exercise programs of tai ji quan (n = 148), strength training (n = 147), or stretching (control, n = 147) twice weekly for 6 months and were followed for 6 months after intervention. The primary outcome measure was the incidence of falls.

Key Findings

The incidence of falls and fall-related injuries in the total cohort were 21% and 12% during the 6 months prior to enrollment, 26% and 9% during the 6-month intervention period, and 27% and 9% during the 6-month follow-up period.

In adjusted analysis, no significant difference in incidence of falls was observed in the tai ji quan group (incidence rate ratio [IRR] = 0.88, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.57–1.35) or the strength training group (IRR = 1.16, 95% CI = 0.78–1.72) vs the control group during the 6-month intervention period. No significant differences (IRR = 1.20, 95% CI = 0.76–1.89; IRR = 0.79, 95% CI = 0.48–1.29) were observed in the 6-month follow-up period.

No significant differences were observed for fall-related injuries across any period in the strength training or control groups. A significant reduction in fall-related injuries in the tai ji quan group occurred between baseline (4.3 per 100 person-months) and intervention period (2.4 per 100 person-months), but the reduction did not persist during the follow-up period.

Over the intervention period, leg strength significantly improved in the strength training group and balance significantly improved in the tai ji quan group vs the control group (both P < .05).

The investigators concluded: “We found no significant reduction in falls for tai ji quan or strength training relative to stretching control in postmenopausal women treated with chemotherapy.”

Kerri M. Winters-Stone, PhD, FACSM, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, is the corresponding author for the Journal of Clinical Oncology article.

Disclosure: The study was supported by a grant from the National Cancer Institute. For full disclosures of the study authors, visit

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.