Mindfulness Intervention Cuts Stress, Depression in Cancer Survivors

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MAPS reduced perceived stress, depressive symptoms after cancer
MAPS reduced perceived stress, depressive symptoms after cancer

HealthDay News -- A brief mindfulness-based intervention has a positive short-term effect on psychological and behavioral measures as well as proinflammatory signal markers in younger breast cancer survivors, according to a study in Cancer.

Julienne E. Bower, PhD, from the University of California in Los Angeles, and colleagues randomized women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer (≥50 years of age) who had completed cancer treatment to a six-week Mindful Awareness Practices (MAPS) intervention group (39 patients) or to a wait-list control group (32 patients).

Questionnaires, completed before and after the intervention, assessed the primary outcomes of stress and depressive symptoms as well as physical symptoms, cancer-related distress, and positive outcomes. Genomic and circulating markers of inflammation were evaluated from blood samples.

The MAPS intervention led to reductions in perceived stress (P=0.004), depressive symptoms (P=0.094), proinflammatory gene expression (P=0.009), and inflammatory signaling (P=0.001), the researchers found.

Secondary outcomes of reduced fatigue, sleep disturbance, and vasomotor symptoms, as well as increased peace, meaning, and positive affect were seen (P<0.05 for all).

At the three-month follow-up assessment, the intervention effects on psychological and behavioral measures were not maintained, although reductions in cancer-related distress were still observed.

"A brief, mindfulness-based intervention demonstrated preliminary short-term efficacy in reducing stress, behavioral symptoms, and proinflammatory signaling in younger breast cancer survivors," the researchers wrote.

References

  1. Bower JE et al. Cancer. 2014; doi: 10.1002/cncr.29194.
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