Mind-body medicine use by women diagnosed with breast cancer: results of a nationally representative survey

  • Petra Voiß
  • Melanie Désirée HöxtermannEmail author
  • Gustav Dobos
  • Holger Cramer
Original Article



Worldwide breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women and often associated with a profound physiological stress reaction. Mind-body medicine modalities have been proven effective in reducing stress symptoms. This article will cover the prevalence of MBM use in women with and without breast cancer in the US population and detect predictors of MBM use in women diagnosed with breast cancer.


The 2017 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) was used to study the prevalence of breast cancer and the use of mind-body medicine (MBM) among individuals with breast cancer in the US population. Using chi-squared tests and backward stepwise multiple logistic regression analyses, predictors of MBM use in women with breast cancer in the past 12 months were identified.


The prevalence of breast cancer in women was 3.1%. Among women diagnosed with breast cancer, 25.2% had used MBM in the past 12 months. Spiritual meditation (14.3%), followed by yoga (9.6%), and mindfulness meditation (4.3%) were the most commonly used MBM approaches for women with breast cancer diagnosis. Only higher education independently predicted the use of MBM among them.


In this nationally representative sample of the USA, the most common used MBM approach was spiritual meditation, while this approach is much less researched than the evidence based approaches of yoga and mindfulness meditation. Especially stressed individuals worldwide could benefit from MBM the literature suggests. Particularly in the acute survivorship stage, influencing the initial stress reaction could be beneficial.


Breast neoplasms Cancer Complementary therapies Health survey Mind-body medicine Oncology 


Funding information

The authors Petra Voiß and Melanie Désirée Höxtermann were supported by a Grant from the Karl and Veronica Carstens Foundation, Essen, Germany.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

NCHS Research Ethics Review Board approved NHIS data collection. The protocol was approved by the NCHS ERB on June 12, 2015 (Protocol #2015-08).


The Karl and Veronica Carstens Foundation had no influence on the design and conduct of the study; the collection, management, analysis and interpretation of the data; the preparation, review or approval of the manuscript; or the decision to submit the manuscript for publication.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Internal and Integrative Medicine, Kliniken Essen-Mitte, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of Duisburg-EssenEssenGermany
  2. 2.Australian Research Centre in Complementary and Integrative Medicine (ARCCIM), Faculty of HealthUniversity of Technology SydneySydneyAustralia

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