Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy reduces chronic cancer-related fatigue: a treatment study

Psychooncology. 2012 Mar;21(3):264-72. doi: 10.1002/pon.1890. Epub 2010 Dec 19.


Introduction: About one-third of cancer survivors suffer from severe chronic fatigue. Aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of mindfulness-based cognitive group therapy in reducing severe chronic fatigue in cancer survivors with mixed diagnoses.

Patients and methods: Participants (n = 100) were randomly selected from a cohort and allocated to an intervention and a waiting list condition. Analyses were based on 59 participants in the intervention condition and 24 in the waiting-list condition. Fatigue severity (Checklist Individual Strength), functional impairment (Sickness Impact Profile) and well being (Health and Disease-Inventory) were assessed before and after the 9-week intervention. The intervention group had a follow-up 6 months following the intervention.

Results: At post-treatment measurement the proportion of clinically improved participants was 30%, versus 4% in the waiting list condition (χ(2) (1) = 6.71; p = 0.007). The mean fatigue score at post-measurement was significantly lower in the intervention group than in the waiting list group corrected for pre-treatment level of fatigue. The mean well-being score at post-measurement was significantly higher in the intervention group than in the waiting list group corrected for pre-treatment level of well-being. The treatment effect was maintained at 6-month follow-up. No difference between the two conditions was found in functional impairment.

Discussion: Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy is an effective treatment for chronic cancer-related fatigue.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chronic Disease / therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Fatigue / etiology*
  • Fatigue / therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Psychotherapy, Group / methods*
  • Sickness Impact Profile
  • Survivors*
  • Treatment Outcome