Current Treatment Options in Oncology

, Volume 9, Issue 2–3, pp 127–134 | Cite as

Mind–Body Interventions in Oncology

Complementary and Alternative Therapies in Oncology

Opinion statement

A number of mind–body interventions have been studied for use with cancer patients, primarily measuring outcomes relating to pain control, anxiety reduction, and enhancing quality of life. This chapter defines the scope and characteristics of mind–body interventions, followed by a selective review of research indicating their appropriate use or cautions in cancer care. Mind–body interventions included are hypnosis, imagery/relaxation, meditation, yoga, and creative therapies. Current evidence supports the efficacy of hypnosis and imagery/relaxation for control of pain and anxiety during cancer treatments. Meditation is supported for reductions in stress and improvements in mood, quality of life, and sleep problems. There is a growing body of support for yoga from randomized controlled trials for improving quality of life, sleep, and mood. Creative therapies such as visual arts, dance, and music may help cancer patients express their feelings and cope with the demands of a cancer experience. Research on biological marker effects of mind–body therapies remains inconclusive. Study of mind–body interventions generally requires additional, methodologically rigorous investigation of how various interventions best assist patients during various phases of cancer survivorship, although a major benefit of these therapies lies in the opportunity for patients to self-select them.


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Dr. Linda E. Carlson holds the Enbridge Research Chair in Psychosocial Oncology, co-funded by the Canadian Cancer Society Albert/NWT Division and the Alberta Cancer Foundation. Thanks to Joshua Lounsberry for assistance with editing and reference management.

References and Recommended Reading

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Copyright information

© Current Medicine Group LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychosocial ResourcesTom Baker Cancer Centre/Alberta Cancer BoardCalgaryCanada
  2. 2.Division of Psychosocial Oncology, Department of Oncology, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

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