Grief and breast cancer

Tacón AM (2011). Mindfulness: existential, loss, and grief factors in women with breast cancer. [Abstract]. J Psychosocial Oncology , 29(6):643-56. Full text.

Although a plethora of studies exist as to the efficacy of mindfulness-based interventions with cancer patients, existential, loss, and grief factors are absent. The primary purpose of this exploratory study was to add to the literature by exploring the pre-post effects of an 8-week mindfulness-based intervention on existential well-being, summed self-identified losses, and grief scores as well as assess mental adjustment to cancer; also, 6-month follow-up data as to intervention maintenance were obtained.

Sixty-five women, all of whom had been diagnosed with breast cancer within the past 12 months, participated in this study. The data indicated significant improvements for existential well-being, number of self-identified losses, grief scores as well as three mental adjustment styles. Six-month follow-up revealed that of the 58 responding participants, 88% were maintaining mindfulness strategies at varying schedules on a weekly basis with mindfulness-based walking as the preferred strategy.

This is the first known mindfulness-based intervention study to investigate existential, loss, and grief factors in those with cancer. Further investigations earnestly are needed in this area to provide full psychosocial care to those confronting cancer.

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