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Cancer, Complementary Medicine, Mental Health

Study shows mindfulness may reduce cancer patients’ anxiety and depression

Previous research has shown that depression can increase mortality among cancer patients and, among breast cancer patients, that stress-reducing psychological interventions can improve quality of life and survival rate.

Now findings recently published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology suggest that practicing “mindfulness,” or paying attention to the present experience without feelings of judgment, may help ameliorate anxiety and depression in patients diagnosed with cancer.

In the study (subscription required), Danish researchers completed a review of past scientific literature on the effects of mindfulness-based therapy on cancer patients with symptoms of anxiety and depression. According to an Aarhus University release:

The research is based on a meta analysis of 22 studies of mindfulness-based therapy and involves more than 1,400 cancer patients. Jacob Piet, [a PhD student at Aarhus University in Denmark], and his colleagues’ summary of the study findings shows that mindfulness has a documented effect as an effective and inexpensive therapy method for cancer patients with anxiety and depression symptoms. The positive effect was not only seen immediately after therapy, but was maintained for at least six months following the therapy.

Previously: Emotional, social support crucial for cancer patients, Stanford study shows depression symptoms may predict breast cancer survival and Gentle yoga provides benefits for cancer patients
Photo by Aran Parillo

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