Lengacher, C. A., Reich, R. R., Post-White, J., Moscoso, M., Shelton, M. M., Barta, M., . . . Budhrani, P. (2012). Mindfulness based stress reduction in post-treatment breast cancer patients: an examination of symptoms and symptom clusters. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 35, 86–94.doi: 10.1007/s10865-011-9346-4
To compare the prevalence and severity of symptoms and symptom clusters in patients with breast cancer who participated in a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program to the symptoms and symptom clusters in patients who received usual care.
Women who expressed interest in participating in the study were randomly assigned to MBSR or usual care. The MBSR program lasted six weeks and included educational material, meditation practice in weekly group settings and homework, group discussion on barriers to meditation, application of mindfulness in daily life, and group support interactions. Meditation training consisted of sitting and walking meditation, body scan, and gentle Hatha yoga. Researchers obtained study measures at baseline and within two weeks of program conclusion. Hierarchical-cluster analysis was used to identify symptom clusters. Researchers compared each group's symptom clusters and individual symptoms to those of the other group.
This was a randomized, controlled trial.
MD Anderson Symptom Inventory
Severity of symptoms declined in both groups from baseline to the end of the study. Fatigue and drowsiness declined more in the MBSR group (p = 0.05). Interference scores for mood and relationships also declined more in the MBSR group (p ≤ 0.05). Analysis of changes in symptom clusters showed no differences between groups. Clusters identified were gastrointestinal (nausea, vomiting, anorexia, shortness of breath, dry mouth, numbness), cognitive or psychological (distress, sadness, pain, remembering), and fatigue (fatigue, disturbed sleep, drowsiness). Cluster scores declined in both groups.
Findings suggested that MBSR interventions may benefit women with breast cancer who are managing fatigue or mood.
Findings suggested that MBSR may be helpful, to some patients with breast cancer, as a means of combating fatigue and mood changes. Study limitations limited the strength of these findings.