, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 86-94
Date: 20 Apr 2011

Mindfulness based stress reduction in post-treatment breast cancer patients: an examination of symptoms and symptom clusters

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Abstract

To investigate prevalence and severity of symptoms and symptom clustering in breast cancer survivors who attended MBSR(BC). Women were randomly assigned into MBSR(BC) or Usual Care (UC). Eligible women were ≥ 21 years, had been diagnosed with breast cancer and completed treatment within 18 months of enrollment. Symptoms and interference with daily living were measured pre- and post-MBSR(BC) using the M.D. Anderson Symptom Inventory. Symptoms were reported as highly prevalent but severity was low. Fatigue was the most frequently reported and severe symptom among groups. Symptoms clustered into 3 groups and improved in both groups. At baseline, both MBSR(BC) and the control groups showed similar mean symptom severity and interference; however, after the 6-week post-intervention, the MBSR(BC) group showed statistically-significant reduction for fatigue and disturbed sleep (P < 0.01) and improved symptom interference items, compared to the control group. For the between-group comparisons, 11 of 13 symptoms and 5 of 6 interference items had lower means in the MBSR(BC) condition than the control condition. These results suggest that MBSR(BC) modestly decreases fatigue and sleep disturbances, but has a greater effect on the degree to which symptoms interfere with many facets of life. Although these results are preliminary, MBSR intervention post-treatment may effectively reduce fatigue and related interference in QOL of breast cancer survivors.