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Study Says Practicing Mindfulness Reduces Stress, Anxiety in Lung Cancer Patients

A new study titled “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Added to Care as Usual for Lung Cancer Patients and Their Partners: A Randomized Controlled Trial," says psychological distress can be effectively treated in lung cancer patients with Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction + solely care as usual (CAU+MBSR) versus solely care as usual (CAU).

In the study, published in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, 31 patients and 21 partners were randomized to CAU+MBSR and 32 patients and 23 partners to CAU. CAU+MBSR patients reported significantly less psychological distress than CAU patients did. Baseline distress levels moderated outcome: those with more distress benefitted most from MBSR. Additionally, CAU+MBSR patients showed more improvements in quality of life, mindfulness skill, self-compassion, and rumination than CAU patients did. In partners, no differences were found between groups.

In conclusion, the researchers wrote, “our findings suggest that psychological distress in lung cancer patients can be effectively treated with MBSR. No effect was found in partners. More research is needed on facilitators and barriers of participation to make effective psychosocial interventions more accessible to lung cancer patients and their partners.”

Note than many of the same treatments and therapies used in lung cancer patients are used in malignant mesothelioma patients (MPM). The study findings are a step forward in validating CAU+MBSR as an effective alternative therapy for mesothelioma.

So what is mindfulness? The practice dates back some 2,500 years to the early teachings of the Buddha. Its sole purpose is to end suffering. Mindfulness is the quality of state of being conscious or aware of something. It is achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.

As a therapeutic technique, mindfulness not only relieves stress and anxiety, some studies show that it can reduce chronic pain, lower blood pressure, improve sleep, alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties, and treat heart disease.

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, talk to your doctor about alternative therapies such as mindfulness. This ancient practice could help manage stress, anxiety, and pain.

Sources

"Benefits of Mindfulness: Practices for Improving Emotional and Physical Well–Being." HelpGuide.org. HelpGuide.org, 2017. Web. 05 Jan. 2018.

Fossas, Andres. "The Basics of Mindfulness: Where Did It Come From?" Welldoing. Welldoing LTD., UK, 27 Jan. 2015. Web. 05 Jan. 2018.

Google Search. Google. n.d. Web. 05 Jan. 2018.

Schellekens, Melanie, Desiree Van Den Hurk, and Johan Molema. "Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Added to Care as Usual for Lung Cancer Patients and Their Partners: A Randomized Controlled Trial." Journal of Thoracic Oncology. International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC), 26 Dec. 2017. Web. 02 Jan. 2018.