Cognitively-Based Compassion Training in breast cancer survivors

Gonzalez-Hernandez, E., et al. (2018). Cognitively-Based Compassion Training (CBCT) in Breast Cancer Survivors: A Randomized Clinical Trial Study. Integrative cancer therapies, 1534735418772095. Online 21 Apr 2018. Full text.

From the Abstract. Context. Breast cancer (BC) requires a significant psychological adaptation once treatment is finished. There is growing evidence of how compassion training enhances psychological and physical well-being, however, there are very few studies analyzing the efficacy of compassion-based Interventions on BC survivors.

Objective. To study the efficacy of the Cognitively-Based Compassion Training (CBCT) protocol in a BC survivor sample on quality of life, psychological well-being, fear of cancer recurrence, self-compassion, and compassion domains and mindfulness facets. Furthermore, enrollment, adherence, and satisfaction with the intervention were also analyzed. . . .

Results. Accrual of eligible participants was high (77%), and the drop-out rate was 16%. Attendance to CBCT sessions was high and practice off sessions exceeded expectations). CBCT was effective in diminishing stress caused by FCR, fostering self-kindness and common humanity, and increasing overall self-compassion scores, mindful observation, and acting with awareness skillsets.

Conclusion. CBCT could be considered a promising and potentially useful intervention to diminish stress caused by FCR and enhance self-kindness, common humanity,

Enhances body image in breast cancer patients

Pintado, Sheila, and Sandra Andrade. “Randomized controlled trial of mindfulness program to enhance body image in patients with breast cancer.” European Journal of Integrative Medicine, online June 1, 2017,

Introduction. Breast cancer affects the thoughts and emotions related to patient’s body image and it has a negative impact in their quality of life. The purpose of this study was to conduct a randomized controlled trial in patients with breast cancer comparing mindfulness training to improve body image with a program based on personal image advice.

Method. A total of 29 women with breast cancer were randomly allocated into one of 2 groups: an experimental (mindfulness program) and control (personal image advice) group. The assessment tools were semi-structured interviews and the BIS and SBC questionnaires. Data was analyzed using quantitative techniques.

Results. The mindfulness program was effective in decreasing negative thoughts and emotions related to body image and dissociation (p < .01), and in increasing positive thoughts and body awareness (p<.01). Moreover, there were significant differences in body image between control and experimental group (F(1,28) = 12.616; p<.01; ηp2=.335).

Conclusion. The mindfulness program was useful in improving psychological and emotional changes related to body image in breast cancer patients. Changes in body image are a key component in the treatment of breast cancer patients with the ability to improve the patient’s quality of life.

Pranic meditation: significant benefits for cancer patients

Castellar, J. I., Fernandes, C. A., & Tosta, C. E. (2014). Beneficial Effects of Pranic Meditation on the Mental Health and Quality of Life of Breast Cancer Survivors. Integrative Cancer Therapies, 1534735414534730.

From the Abstract. Breast cancer survivors frequently present long-lasting impairments, caused either by the disease or its treatment, capable of compromising their emotional health and quality of life. Meditation appears to be a valuable complementary measure for overcoming some of these impairments. The purpose of the present investigation was to assess the effect of pranic meditation on the quality of life and mental health of breast cancer survivors.

The subjects were 75 women submitted either to breast cancer therapy or to posttherapy control who agreed to practice pranic meditation for 20 minutes, twice a day, during 8 weeks, after receiving a formal training. After 8 weeks … the results of this pilot study showed that breast cancer survivors presented significant benefits related to their mental health and quality of life scores after a short period of practice of pranic meditation, consisting of simple and easy-to-learn exercises.

However, because of the limitations of the study, further research is required using a more rigorous experimental design to ascertain whether pranic meditation may be an acceptable adjunct therapy for cancer patients.

For women with cancer recurrence

Thornton, L. M., et al. (2014). Test of Mindfulness and Hope Components in a Psychological Intervention for Women With Cancer Recurrence. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology. Epubl ahead of publication.

From the Abstract. Psychological interventions can attenuate distress and enhance coping for those with an initial diagnosis of cancer, but there are few intervention options for individuals with cancer recurrence. To address this gap, we developed and tested a novel treatment combining Mindfulness, Hope Therapy, and bio-behavioral components.

Method: An uncontrolled, repeated measures design was used. Women (N = 32) with recurrent breast or gynecologic cancers were provided 20 treatment sessions in individual (n = 12) or group (n = 20) formats. On average, participants were middle aged (M = 58) and Caucasian (81%). Session-by-session therapy process (positive and negative affect, quality-of-life) and mechanism (use of intervention-specific skills) measures were also included.

Results: Distress, anxiety, and negative affect decreased, whereas positive affect and mental-health-related quality-of-life increased over the course of treatment, as demonstrated in mixed-effects models with the intent-to-treat sample. Both hope and mindfulness increased, and use of mindfulness skills was related to decreased anxiety.

Conclusions: The trial serves as preliminary evidence for a multi-component intervention tailored to treat difficulties specific to recurrent cancer. The blending of the components was novel as well as theoretically and practically consistent.

MBCR vs. group therapy with survivors of breast cancer

Carlson, L. E., et al. (2013). Randomized controlled trial of mindfulness-based cancer recovery versus supportive expressive group therapy for distressed survivors of breast cancer (MINDSET). Journal of Clinical Oncology, 31(25), 3119-3126. From the Abstract:

Purpose. To compare the efficacy of the following two empirically supported group interventions to help distressed survivors of breast cancer cope: mindfulness-based cancer recovery (MBCR) and supportive-expressive group therapy (SET).

Patients and Methods. This multisite, randomized controlled trial assigned 271 distressed survivors of stage I to III breast cancer to MBCR, SET, or a 1-day stress management control condition. MBCR focused on training in mindfulness meditation and gentle yoga, whereas SET focused on emotional expression and group support. Both intervention groups included 18 hours of professional contact. Measures were collected at baseline and after intervention by assessors blind to study condition. Primary outcome measures were mood and diurnal salivary cortisol slopes. Secondary outcomes were stress symptoms, quality of life, and social support.

Results. Women in MBCR improved more over time on stress symptoms compared with women in both the SET and control groups. Per-protocol analyses showed greater improvements in the MBCR group in quality of life compared with control group and in social support compared with the SET group.

Conclusion. In the largest trial to date, MBCR was superior for improving a range of psychological outcomes for distressed survivors of breast cancer. Both SET and MBCR also resulted in more normative diurnal cortisol profiles than the control condition. The clinical implications of this finding require further investigation.

Mind, body, and spirit self-empowerment for women with breast cancer

Kinney, C. K., Rodgers, D. M., Nash, K. A., & Bray, C. O. (2003). Holistic healing for women with breast cancer through a mind, body, and spirit self-empowerment program. Journal of Holistic Nursing, 21(3), 260-279. Full text.

This article reports results of an integrated mind-body-spirit self-empowerment program for breast cancer survivors. Fifty-women at various stages of breast cancer completed a series of eclectic lessons offered in a support group format. The followed an integrated and cumulative lesson plan that progressively and systematically introduced multiple strategies creating a balance among mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health.

The program’s goals were to enable to experience a reduction in distress, improve perceived quality of life, reach a deeper sense of meaning and purpose in life and experience a greater sense of perceived wellness. Self-assessments were obtained on four well-documented measures to both pre- and postprogram participation. Differences in pre- and postscores showed statistically significant and large estimated effect sizes on all four measures. Participants’ written comments provide examples of the scope and of the program.

Tibetan sound meditation and cognitive impairment among breast cancer patients

Milbury, K., et al., (2013). Tibetan sound meditation for cognitive dysfunction: results of a randomized controlled pilot trial. Psycho‐Oncology. Epub ahead of inclusion in an issue. DOI: 10.1002/pon.3296. Abstract.

Excerpts: Although chemotherapy-induced cognitive impairment is common among breast cancer patients, evidence for effective interventions addressing cognitive deficits is limited. This randomized controlled trial examined the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of a Tibetan Sound Meditation (TSM) program to improve cognitive function and quality of life in breast cancer patients.

Forty-seven breast cancer patients (mean age 56.3 years), who were staged I–III at diagnosis, 6–60 months post-chemotherapy, and reported cognitive impairment at study entry were recruited. Participants were randomized to either two weekly TSM sessions for 6 weeks or a wait list control group. Neuropsychological assessments were completed at baseline and 1 month post-treatment.

Relative to the control group, women in the TSM group performed better on the verbal memory test and the short-term memory and processing speed task and reported improved cognitive function, cognitive abilities, mental health, and spirituality at the end of treatment but not 1 month later.

This randomized controlled trial revealed that TSM program appears to be a feasible and acceptable intervention and may be associated with short-term improvements in objective and subjective cognitive function as well as mental health and spirituality in breast cancer patients.

Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.