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Intervention program helps breast cancer patients live longer after recurrence
Date:6/8/2010

COLUMBUS, Ohio A psychological intervention program designed for breast cancer patients reduces the risk of dying if the cancer recurs, new research shows.

The study is the latest in a series at Ohio State University that have shown that an intervention program that teaches patients how to cope with the disease can boost their health, well-being and even their chances of survival.

Researchers at Ohio State's Comprehensive Cancer Center had found in an earlier study that women who took part in the program reduced their risk of dying of breast cancer by 56 percent after an average of 11 years.

In addition, they were 45 percent less likely to have the breast cancer recur compared to women who didn't participate.

This new study shows that the benefits of the intervention program continued even after recurrence. Among those who recurred, those who participated in the intervention program had a 59 percent reduction in the risk of dying from breast cancer compared to the women who didn't take part.

"Women who took part in the intervention program do better across the board than do others, even if they have a recurrence," said Barbara Andersen, lead author of the study, and a member of Ohio State's Comprehensive Cancer Center and professor of psychology.

"They learned how to cope with a cancer diagnosis when they were first diagnosed, and those lessons likely helped them deal with recurrence."

One of the keys to the success of the program is that it helps patients reduce their stress levels, said study co-author William E. Carson III, professor of surgery and associate director for clinical research at Ohio State's Comprehensive Cancer Center.

"Stress may have an impact on the outcome of breast cancer patients," Carson said. "We're finding that reducing stress may be another powerful therapy to fight the disease."

The study appears in the June 2010 issue of the journal Clinical Cance
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Contact: Barbara Andersen
Andersen.1@osu.edu
614-292-4236
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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