Breast cancer and distress resulting from Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): the impact of a psychological intervention of emotional and informative support

J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2006 Dec;25(4):499-505.


The present study assesses the adaptation of a group of female patients with either manifest or suspected breast cancer who have undergone Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) after receiving psychological support. Several studies in literature have reported the effectiveness of such support in reducing anti-oxidant and depression aspects related to MRI. Two random groups of patients, from the Service of Diagnostics Imaging of the Oncological Unit of the Regina Elena Institute of Rome, were enrolled. The experimental group (EG) received routine information together with extra psychological. The control group (CG) received only routine information. All the patients underwent a psychological evaluation, before (TO) and after (T1) the exam. The following evaluation instruments were used: the Crown Crisp Experimental Index (C.C. E.I.), the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (S.T.A.I. Y1-Y2) and the Self Rating Depression Scale (S.D.S.) for TO and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (S.T.A.I. Y1 and the Self Rating Depression Scale (S.D.S.) for T1. Results prior to the MRI exam (TO), show that the women receiving extra information and emotional support (EG) suffer considerably less anxiety and depression compared to the control group. Results after the MRI exam (T1), indicate that the way the exam is carried out is also relevant in reducing anxiety. The level of anxiety, however, was significantly lower in the experimental group compared to the control. Depression levels, on the other hand, remained unaltered. Our results indicate that a psychological intervention aimed at providing more information and giving more emotional support helps patients adapt with a reduction of anxiety and depression.

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / adverse effects*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Personality Inventory
  • Psychological Tests
  • Social Support
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology*