What is the evidence for the use of mindfulness-based interventions in cancer care? A review.

Author: Shennan C, Payne S, Fenlon D.
Cancer Help Ltd., Croston House, Garstang, Lancashire, UK. christinashennan@talktalk.net
Conference/Journal: Psychooncology.
Date published: 2011 Jul
Other: Volume ID: 20 , Issue ID: 7 , Pages: 681-97 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1002/pon.1819. , Word Count: 201

The aim of this paper is to present and critically appraise the evidence for the use of mindfulness-based interventions in cancer care.

Systematic review methods were used. A thorough search of relevant major and specialised electronic databases was made and unpublished and ongoing work was also identified. Both qualitative and quantitative studies were eligible for inclusion. Information about aims, design, participant sample, measures, findings and intervention details were extracted from each study.

Thirteen research papers and four conference abstracts published since 2007 were identified which met the criteria, reporting five different types of mindfulness intervention. The 13 papers composed of three randomised control trials, two non-randomised control trials, five pre and post-test designs and two qualitative studies. Studies report significant improvements in anxiety, depression, stress, sexual difficulties, physiological arousal and immune function or subjective benefits across all interventions. Methodological limitations were identified. Diversity in study designs and interventions makes comparisons between studies difficult. Some mindfulness interventions may have a place in acute treatment and palliative care.

Mindfulness approaches are a promising intervention in cancer care, potentially across the cancer trajectory. Further qualitative research and research into different styles of mindfulness delivery are recommended.

Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

PMID: 20690112