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Psychological intervention provides enduring health benefits for women with breast cancer
Date:6/8/2010

PHILADELPHIA Stress-reducing psychological intervention helps to increase survival and quality of life among women with recurrent breast cancer over the long-term, according to results of a Phase III study published in Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

"Patients in the intervention arm evidenced significant emotional improvement and more favorable immune responses in the year following recurrence diagnosis. In contrast, stress remained unabated and immunity significantly declined in the assessment-only group," said lead researcher Barbara L. Andersen, Ph.D., professor in the department of psychology at the Ohio State University, Columbus, and a researcher at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.

Psychological stress leads to disruptions in quality of life, health behaviors and immunity, all of which contribute to poorer health outcomes.

In a previously conducted study, The Stress and Immunity Breast Cancer Project, Andersen and colleagues reported that after an average of 11 years of follow-up, women who received psychological intervention had a 45 percent reduced risk of breast cancer recurrence, demonstrating positive effects. For this follow-up, they tested the same hypothesis with the endpoint being death from breast cancer.

Participants included 227 women with newly diagnosed Stage II or III breast cancer; they were randomized to receive a psychological intervention or assessment only. Psychological intervention included the following clinical objectives for patients: understand the nature of cancer stress; learn tangible ways to reduce stress and improve quality of life; maintain adherence and follow-up to cancer care; enhance communication with medical care providers; increase well-being during treatment, facilitate recovery and improve overall health.

During follow-up, 62 women
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Contact: Tara Yates
tara.yates@aacr.org
267-646-0558
American Association for Cancer Research
Source:Eurekalert  

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