Purpose: To assess the effectiveness of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) for mood, breast- and endocrine-specific quality of life, and well-being after hospital treatment in women with stage 0 to III breast cancer.
Patients and methods: A randomized, wait-listed, controlled trial was carried out in 229 women after surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy for breast cancer. Patients were randomly assigned to the 8-week MBSR program or standard care. Profile of Mood States (POMS; primary outcome), Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Breast (FACT-B), Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Endocrine Symptoms (FACT-ES) scales and the WHO five-item well-being questionnaire (WHO-5) evaluated mood, quality of life, and well-being at weeks 0, 8, and 12. For each outcome measure, a repeated-measures analysis of variance model, which incorporated week 0 measurements as a covariate, was used to compare treatment groups at 8 and 12 weeks.
Results: There were statistically significant improvements in outcome in the experimental group compared with control group at both 8 and 12 weeks (except as indicated) for POMS total mood disturbance (and its subscales of anxiety, depression [8 weeks only], anger [12 weeks only], vigor, fatigue, and confusion [8 weeks only]), FACT-B, FACT-ES, (and Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy subscales of physical, social [8 weeks only], emotional, and functional well-being), and WHO-5.
Conclusion: MSBR improved mood, breast- and endocrine-related quality of life, and well-being more effectively than standard care in women with stage 0 to III breast cancer, and these results persisted at three months. To our knowledge, this study provided novel evidence that MBSR can help alleviate long-term emotional and physical adverse effects of medical treatments, including endocrine treatments. MBSR is recommended to support survivors of breast cancer.