Effects of meditation on anxiety, depression, fatigue, and quality of life of women undergoing radiation therapy for breast cancer

Complement Ther Med. 2013 Aug;21(4):379-87. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2013.06.005. Epub 2013 Jul 6.


Objective: To investigate the effects of meditation on anxiety, depression, fatigue, and quality of life in women who are receiving radiation therapy for breast cancer.

Design: Randomized, non-program controlled, parallel intervention clinical trial.

Setting: The ASAN Cancer Center located in Seoul, Korea.

Intervention: The subjects of this study included 102 female breast cancer patients who had undergone breast-conserving surgery; these female patients were randomized into equally assigned meditation control groups, with each group consisting of 51 patients. The test group received a total of 12 meditation therapy sessions during their 6-week radiation therapy period, and the control group underwent only a conventional radiation therapy.

Outcome: The tools used to evaluate the effects of meditation were Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale, Revised Piper Fatigue scale, and European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer-Quality of Life Core-30. The results were analyzed based on the principles of intention-to-treat analysis, and, as a corollary analysis, per-protocol analysis was conducted.

Results: The breast cancer patients who received meditation therapy compared with the non-intervention group saw improvements in reduction of anxiety (p=.032), fatigue (p=.030), and improvement in global quality of life (p=.028).

Conclusions: Based on the results of this study, an affirmation can be made that meditation can be used as a non-invasive intervention treatment for improving fatigue, anxiety, quality of life, and emotional faculties of women with breast cancer.

Keywords: Anxiety; Breast cancer; Fatigue; Meditation; Quality of life.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Anxiety / therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Depression / etiology
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Fatigue / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mastectomy, Segmental
  • Meditation*
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life