, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 373-378

Improving Symptoms and Quality of Life of Female Cancer Survivors: a Randomized Controlled Study

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Abstract

Background

Surgeons, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, emphasize the importance of managing symptoms and improving the quality of life of cancer survivors. A 2008 meta-analysis of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) concluded that this technique might improve patients’ adjustment to their disease. However, randomized controlled trials using standardized measures for evaluating MBSR are limited. The primary objective of this study was to evaluate, using valid and reliable measures, the effects of a unique, interactive, 8-week cancer recovery and wellness program on symptoms and quality of life of female cancer survivors.

Methods

Sixty-eight female cancer patients were randomized into either an intervention or waitlisted control group. Patients were evaluated using the Symptoms Checklist (SCL-90-R), the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-30), and the Symptoms of Stress Inventory (SOSI).

Results

Of the participants, 70.6% were breast cancer survivors. Mean age was 57.5 years (treatment group) and 56.4 years (control group). Between-group demographic differences were not significant (P > 0.6). The treatment group improved significantly on the EORTC QLQ-30 (P = 0.005), on six of the eight SOSI subscales (P ≤ 0.049), and on both SCL-90-R subscales (P ≤ 0.023), while the control group did not improve on any of these measures (P > 0.2).

Conclusion

The MBSR-based cancer recovery and wellness intervention improved the symptoms and quality of life of this largely breast cancer survivor population across a variety of cancer symptoms and quality-of-life measures.