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Audio recordings of mindfulness-based stress reduction training to improve cancer patients’ mood and quality of life-a pilot feasibility study

PURPOSE: Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), typically taught in eight weekly classes, helps patients cope with illness, including cancer. Current research is almost exclusively based on post-treatment class attendance. Research suggests that short courses and alternative delivery techniques may also be beneficial. This pilot study assessed whether it would be feasible for cancer patients receiving chemotherapy to listen to MBSR audio recordings individually during treatment and at home and evaluate whether the intervention shows preliminary evidence of efficacy to improve patients’ mood and quality of life (QoL). METHODS: Patients were recruited from two oncology clinics. Inclusion criteria included a score >/=8 on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). Participants were asked to listen to study CDs containing MBSR instructions at least 5 days/week for 3 months and to maintain study diaries of their meditation practices. RESULTS: Twenty-three patients enrolled in the study, and 20 (87%; 95% confidence interval (CI), 66% to 97%) completed the study protocol. Analysis showed that participants listened to study CDs an average of 39 times during the study; mean HADS scores declined from 18.3 to 12.2 (change = -6.1 points; 95% CI, -2.9 to -9.4). Participants reported subjectively that participation improved their mood and QoL. CONCLUSIONS: This pilot study demonstrates the feasibility of investigating an individual audio MBSR intervention for patients with cancer and provides preliminary evidence that MBSR may benefit chemotherapy patients’ mood and QoL. Fully powered comparative clinical trials to asses this MBSR modality to help improve mood and QoL for patients receiving chemotherapy are feasible and needed.

Authors: Altschuler A; Rosenbaum E; Gordon P; Canales S; Avins AL

Support Care Cancer. 2012 Jun;20(6):1291-7. Epub 2011 Jun 19.

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