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Mindfulness-based interventions ease distress in cancer patients, survivors

22 Sep 2019

Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) effectively alleviate psychological distress among cancer patients and survivors, reports a recent meta-analysis.

Twenty-nine independent randomized controlled trials were deemed eligible for inclusion, yielding a cumulative sample of 3,274 participants (mean age, 55 years; 86 percent female). Only papers that employed MBIs with mindfulness as the main component were retrieved. Acceptable outcomes included at least one measure of distress, such as anxiety, depression and perceived stress.

MBIs had a statistically significant but small effect on psychological distress immediately after treatment (Hedges’ g, 0.32; p<0.001). The same was true for self-reported symptoms of anxiety (Hedges’ g, 0.36; p<0.001), depression (Hedges’ g, 0.38; p<0.001), fatigue (Hedges’ g, 0.51; p=0.001) and the fear of cancer recurrence (Hedges’ g, 0.29; p=0.001).

Age and the type of control group used appeared to be potential moderators, such that studies with younger participants and passive controls returned larger effect sizes for MBIs.

When assessed after a mean follow-up of 6.6 months, MBI continued to produce significant benefits in terms of psychological distress (Hedges’ g, 0.19; p=0.002), depressive symptoms (Hedges’ g, 0.20; p=0.04), sleep disturbance (Hedges’ g, 0.23; p=0.047), pain (Hedges’ g, 0.20; p=0.016) and anxiety (Hedges g, 0.36; p=0.001).

“MBIs may be relevant treatment options for cancer patients and survivors, although direct comparisons of MBIs with [cognitive behavioural therapy] are needed for this patient group,” said researchers. “This is an important area for future research.”

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Most Read Articles
4 days ago
Children with high dental anxiety are more likely to develop dental diseases, which, in turn, negatively affect the family’s quality of life, a recent study has found.
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Exposure to corticosteroids in patients with autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) appears to contribute to increased risks of cataract, diabetes and bone fractures, a study has found. Notably, the fracture risk is elevated at low doses, while the risk of adverse events overall is dose-dependent and is reversible.
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