A meditation technique has been found to help relieve stress and improve mental health among women with breast cancer.
Researchers from St. Joseph Hospital in Chicago studied the use of a transcendental meditation technique among 130 women with breast cancer.
All participants were 55 years and older and were randomly assigned to either the transcendental meditation technique or to a usual care control group.
Patients were administered quality of life measures, including the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Breast (FACT-B), every six months for two years. The average intervention period was 18 months.
“It is wonderful that physicians now have a range of interventions to use, including transcendental meditation, to benefit their patients with cancer,” said Rhoda Pomerantz, M.D., study co-author and chief of gerontology, Saint Joseph Hospital.
“I believe this approach should be appreciated and utilized more widely.”
Stress contributes to the onset and progression of breast cancer
According to background information in the article, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, striking about 13 percent. Women over the age of 50 have four times the incidence of breast cancer compared to women below 50. Breast cancer remains a leading cause of death among women, according to the National Cancer Institute.
“Emotional and psychosocial stress contribute to the onset and progression of breast cancer and cancer mortality,” said Sanford Nidich, lead author of the study and senior researcher at the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa.
“The transcendental meditation technique reduces stress and improves emotional well-being and mental health in older breast cancer patients. The women in the study found their meditation practice easy to do at home and reported significant benefits in their overall quality of life,” Dr. Nidich said.
“Decades of research have shown that stress contributes to the cause and complications of cancer,” said Robert Schneider, M.D., F.A.C.C., co-author and director of the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention at Maharishi University of Management.
“The data from this well-designed clinical trial and related studies suggest that effective stress reduction with the transcendental meditation program may be useful in the prevention and treatment of breast cancer and its deleterious consequences.”
The study is published in the current issue of the peer-reviewed journal Integrative Cancer Therapies.
Source: Saint Joseph Hospital