Lengacher, C.A., Johnson-Mallard, V., Post-White, J., Moscoso, M.S., Jacobsen, P. B., Klein, T. W., . . . Kip, K.E. (2009). Randomized controlled trial of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) for survivors of breast cancer. Psycho-Oncology, 18, 1261–1272.doi: 10.1002/pon.1529
To determine if a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) intervention is effective in improving psychological and physical status in breast cancer survivors
The intervention was six group sessions of an MBSR program using meditation and body scan techniques. Participants received a training manual and audiotapes to support home practice of various forms of meditation and gentle yoga. The training manual included weekly objectives, exercises, program content, and a daily diary for recording practice activities.
A randomized controlled trial design was used.
Seventy percent of participants were determined to be compliant with the program. Intervention participants had better mean scores for state anxiety and depression compared to the control group at six weeks (p = 0.004; p = 0.03).
The MBSR program improved psychological distress, fear of recurrence, and quality of life among patients with breast cancer who recently transitioned from active treatment. The extent of practice of MBSR activities appears to influence the overall degree of benefit derived. A large percentage of patients were able to comply with a complex MBSR intervention.
Whether benefits seen were due to the actual intervention or the supportive aspects of the group was unable to be determined. More than half of eligible patients approached for enrollment declined due to scheduling issues, travel distance, lack of interest, and other issues. This suggests that such a program is limited in application related to these types of issues.