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

nce, women in the intervention group survived an average of six months longer 2.8 years after diagnosis vs. 2.2 years for those in the assessment group.

Right after diagnosis of recurrence, both groups of women showed high levels of psychological distress. However, those who participated in the intervention saw an improvement in their mood over time, while the others did not show emotional improvement.

"Everyone was understandably distraught when they received their recurrence diagnosis, but the stress remained high for those who didn't participate in the intervention," Andersen said. "Stress declined for those who had been in the intervention group. They had learned how to cope and they put those lessons into practice."

Intervention patients also reported greater levels of social support from friends and family, which was one of the key lessons they learned in the program.

Another key finding was that intervention patients showed higher levels of three key markers of immune system function after 12 months: natural killer cell cytotoxicity and Con A and PHA blastogenesis.

"The immune system is very powerful, but it needs a lot of help to fight cancer," Carson said. "Anything we can do to help the immune system fight cancer is a bonus, and the intervention program may be one way to do that."

Andersen said the results of this study add to the growing body of evidence that this psychological intervention program provides significant advantages to breast cancer patients.

"If psychological interventions are offered early to breast cancer patients they may provide enduring late benefits, and possibly longer survival," she said.


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Contact: Barbara Andersen
Andersen.1@osu.edu
614-292-4236
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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