Mind-body imagery practice among Alaska breast cancer patients: a case study

Alaska Med. Oct-Dec 2006;48(3):74-84.


Purpose: To explicate patient-reported imagery themes derived from a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-funded clinical trial demonstrating statistical and clinical improvements in patient quality of life.

Patients and method: A case-study evaluation of six breast cancer patients who completed conventional care (surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation) for at least six weeks before participating in an intervention utilizing imagery as adjuvant care.

Results: Thematic analysis revealed six imagery themes: (1) physical sensations in the body; (2) descriptions of health and wellbeing; (3) imagery of the natural environment; (4) imagery of colors associated with health; (5) reports of sounds associated with healing; and (6) experiences of taste and smell during imagery practice.

Conclusions: Patients report that once the cancer is 'cured,' the long-term repercussions of cancer and its treatments are overlooked by physicians and caregivers. Imagery for 'meaning-making,' as experienced in this study, is a potent skill for supporting optimal patient recovery.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Alaska
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imagery, Psychotherapy*
  • Perception
  • Qualitative Research
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Survivors / psychology