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Mindfulness meditation for oncology patients: a discussion and critical review.

20 Nov

Researchers from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston reviewed the impact of mindfulness meditation on cancer patients. A literature search produced 9 research articles published in the past 5 years, and 5 conference abstracts published in 2004. Most studies were conducted with breast and prostate cancer patients, and the mindfulness intervention was done in a clinic-based group setting.

The search revealed consistent benefits--improved psychological functioning, reduction of stress symptoms, enhanced coping and improved sense of well-being in cancer outpatients.

The authors recommend more research, using randomized, controlled designs, rigorous methods, with a wider range of cancer diagnoses and treatment settings, also, expanding outcomes to include quality of life, physiological impacts and health-related outcomes; exploring mediating factors; and discerning dose effects and optimal frequency and length of home practice.

Nonetheless, this review concludes that mindfulness meditation has clinically relevant implications to alleviate psychological and physical suffering in people living with cancer.

Citation: Ott MJ, Norris RL, Bauer-Wu SM. Mindfulness meditation for oncology patients: a discussion and critical review. Integrative Cancer Therapies. 2006 Jun;5 (2):pages 98-108. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award