Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Can Mindfulness Help Cancer Patients ?

Studies have shown that mindfulness interventions can help improve psychological functioning, sleep better, reduce stress stress levels, enhance coping skills and well -being in cancer patients. These studies were conducted mainly in breast and prostate cancer patients. The reason for this may be a result of possible changes in hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis functioning.

One study showed improvement in quality of life that were associated with decreases in afternoon cortisol levels. Another study, showed possible changes in immune function, for example, increase in T cell production of IL-4 (Interleukin -4), that may cause a shift in immune profile from one associated with depressive symptoms to a more normal profile. A different study showed that MBSR programme was effective in decreasing mood disturbance and stress symptoms for up to 6 months in both male and female patients with a wide variety of cancer diagnoses and at different stages of the illness. If you want to read more about this please click the following links.

Buddha Lessons
A technique called 'mindfulness' teaches how to step back from pain and the worries of life

Adjunctive Psychological Therapy for Cancer:
What We Know and What We Need to Know

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