Mindfulness-based cancer recovery in survivors recovering from chemotherapy and radiation

Anne H. Blaes, Danyelle Fenner, Veronika Bachanova, Carolyn Torkelson, Melissa Geller, Tufia Haddad, Ryan Shanley, Mary Jo Kreitzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background Sleep impairment, fatigue, and anxiety are common conditions in cancer survivors. Small studies suggest mindfulness-based interventions may be helpful for cancer-related fatigue. Objective To evaluate mindfulness-based cancer recovery (MBCR) for cancer survivors who are recovering from chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Methods 42 cancer survivors who were within 6 months of completion of chemotherapy or radiation were randomized 2:1 to 8 weekly MBCR classes (n = 28) or wait-list control (n = 14). The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), Functional Assessment in Cancer Therapy-Fatigue (FACT-F), and 20-item State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) were used to assess sleep, fatigue, and anxiety at baseline (time of enrolment), at 2 months (on completion of the MBCR course), and 4 months (2 months after completion of the course). 32 of 42 participants participated in an optional blood draw to assess immune function. Results 79% of the MBCR group attended at least 7 of the 9 MBCR sessions. At the 2-month assessment, sleep quality (PSQI, range 0-21, <5 = poorer sleep quality) in the MBCR group improved from the baseline 8.9 to 6.4, compared with the wait-list group (baseline 7.2 to 7.6); and at 4 months after course completion, it was 6.1 compared with 7.8, respectively (P = .03). There was a non-statistically significant improvement in fatigue (FACIT-F, P = .19). There was a trend toward improvement in the anxiety scores (STAI, range 20-80, higher score = greater anxiety) in the MBCR group compared with the wait-list group at 2 months (31.8 vs 39.4, respectively; P = .07) and 4 months (32.8 vs 40.7; P = .10). Immune function measures were not statistically significant. Limitations It is possible the psychological support of being in contact with a facilitator and/or other cancer survivors had a beneficial effect in the outcomes of those in the MBCR group. Conclusion MBCR has a high compliance rate and results in sustained improvements in sleep quality, fatigue, and anxiety. MBCR may be useful for cancer survivors struggling with sleep, fatigue, and anxiety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)351-358
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Community and Supportive Oncology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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