Effectiveness of mindfulness-based stress reduction in mood, breast- and endocrine-related quality of life, and well-being in stage 0 to III breast cancer: a randomized, controlled trial

J Clin Oncol. 2012 Apr 20;30(12):1335-42. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2010.34.0331. Epub 2012 Mar 19.


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.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Anxiety Disorders / therapy
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Depression / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mastectomy / methods
  • Mastectomy / psychology
  • Meditation / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Preoperative Care / methods
  • Quality of Life*
  • Reference Values
  • Risk Assessment
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Waiting Lists