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Mindfulness Intervention De-Stresses Cancer Survivors

Positive short-term effects seen in younger breast cancer survivors

MONDAY, Jan. 19, 2015 (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 published online Dec. 23 in Cancer.

Julienne E. Bower, Ph.D., 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 researchers found that 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). 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 authors write.

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