Cancer Treatment Side Effects & Supportive and Palliative Care
'Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction' (MBSR) is the most extensively reported type of meditation tested in cancer patients. This method combines the practice of being fully 'present' with attitudes of patience and acceptance.
In a study involving 90 patients with various cancer diagnoses who were randomized to MBSR or to a wait-list control group, patients randomized to MBSR improved significantly more on mood states and symptoms of stress when compared to controls. Benefits were still shown at six-month follow-up, and a clear association was observed between higher home meditation practice and greater decreases in overall mood disturbance, anxiety, depression, and irritability.
Another study involving the use of MBSR in isolated hospitalized bone-marrow transplant (BMT) patients. This study found short term effects on anxiety levels (as well as pain).
Other meditation interventions have also shown decreased anxiety in cancer patients. For example, an RCT randomly assigned 128 patients to either a 7-week yoga intervention consisting of physical poses, breathing, and meditation exercises or a 12-week wait-list control. The intervention group showed significantly improved decreased distressed mood as well as higher overall quality of life, emotional and social well-being.
There are no reported safety concerns regarding meditation. However, meditation may not be advisable for people with serious mental illness.
There is some evidence that meditation is beneficial as a co-adjuvant for treating anxiety in cancer patients who are able to adhere to a meditation practice.
References - Hide References
- Bauer-Wu SM, Rosenbaum E: Facing the challenges of stem cell/bone marrow transplantation with mindfulness meditation: a pilot study. Psychooncology 2004, 13:S10ÐS11.
- Carlson LE, Bultz BD. Mind-Body Interventions in Oncology. Curr Treat Options Oncol. 2008 Aug 13. [Epub ahead of print]
- Carlson LE, Ursuliak Z, Goodey E, Angen M, Speca M: The effects of a mindfulness meditation based stress reduction program on mood and symptoms of stress in cancer outpatients: Six month follow-up. Support. Care Cancer 2001, 9:112Ð123.
- Mackenzie MJ, Carlson LE, Speca M: Mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) in oncology: rationale and review. Evid Based Integr Med 2005, 2:139Ð145.
- Moadel AB, Shah C, Wylie-Rosett J, Harris MS, Patel SR, Hall CB, et al. Randomized controlled trial of yoga among a multiethnic sample of breast cancer patients: effects on quality of life. J Clin Oncol 2007, 25(28):4387Ð4395
- Ott MJ, Norris RL, Bauer-Wu SM: Mindfulness meditation for oncology patients. Integr Cancer Ther 2006, 5:98Ð108.
- Speca M, Carlson LE, Goodey E, Angen M: A randomized, wait-list controlled clinical trial: the effect of a mindfulness meditation-based stress reduction program on mood and symptoms of stress in cancer outpatients. Psychosom Med 2000, 62(5):613Ð622.