The Effects of Mind Subtraction Meditation on Breast Cancer Survivors' Psychological and Spiritual Well-being and Sleep Quality: A Randomized Controlled Trial in South Korea

Cancer Nurs. 2017 Sep/Oct;40(5):377-385. doi: 10.1097/NCC.0000000000000443.


Background: Most breast cancer survivors experience psychological and spiritual distress, including depression, anxiety, perceived stress, and loss of meaningfulness in life. This distress can negatively impact physical health, quality of life, and quality of sleep.

Objective: The aim of this study was to compare and examine the effectiveness of mind subtraction meditation (MSM) and a self-management education (SME) group on breast cancer survivors.

Methods: A randomized controlled trial was conducted with South Korean female breast cancer survivors (stages I-III). Self-reported questionnaires were administered to both MSM group (n = 22) and SME group (n = 24) to measure psychological and spiritual well-being, as well as quality of sleep.

Results: Compared with the SME group, the MSM group reported a significant decrease in depression (P = .034), anxiety (P = .036), and perceived stress (P = .009) and an increase in quality of life (P < .001), satisfaction with life (P < .001), posttraumatic growth (P = .007), and quality of sleep (P = .010).

Conclusions: Mind subtraction meditation may have positive therapeutic effects among breast cancer survivors. This meditation program may be useful to manage psychological and spiritual distress, as well as improve quality of life and sleep, in clinical settings among breast cancer survivors.

Implications for practice: This study demonstrated the clinical effectiveness and the feasibility of applying the MSM method to breast cancer survivors. The participants had a high attendance rate in the program, which speaks to the likelihood of the applicability of the meditation program on an outpatient basis.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Meditation / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Republic of Korea
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Spirituality*
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control*
  • Survivors / psychology*
  • Survivors / statistics & numerical data
  • Treatment Outcome