Introduction: Breast cancer is the most common form of cancerous disease worldwide. Its treatment leads to a variety of physiological and psychological side effects. This review investigates the question of how mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), a stress management program, can influence the quality of life, anxiety, and depression of women diagnosed with breast cancer.
Methods: A systematic literature search was conducted in PubMed/MEDLINE and Cochrane Library. Screening by title, abstract and full text was performed, whereby only those articles were included that fit the inclusion criteria. A risk of bias assessment was performed for each included study.
Results: Overall, six studies were included, but not every study investigated all three outcomes. Two studies found positive impacts on quality of life, whereas three did not find a positive correlation between the intervention and quality of life. Four out of six studies found a positive relation between MBSR and anxiety scores, but only half of the included studies found positive results for the interaction between MBSR and depression scores.
Conclusion: Published data suggest that anxiety can be positively influenced by MBSR, which can be used to improve the psychological care of breast cancer patients, both during and after treatment. However, further studies with larger patient numbers and longer observation periods should be conducted in order to elucidate the full potential of MSBR on important areas such as depression and quality of life.
Keywords: anxiety; breast cancer; depression; mindfulness-based stress reduction; quality of life.