Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Alleviates Breast Cancer-Related Pain

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Alleviates Breast Cancer-Related Pain

Take-Home Message:

Mindfulness diminished the pain related to breast cancer treatment.


Efficacy of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy on Late Post-Treatment Pain in Women Treated for Primary Breast Cancer: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Authors: Johannsen, M., et al.

Source: Source: J Clin Oncol. 2016 Jun 20. Pii: JCO650770


Post-treatment pain occurs in 16-20% of women treated for breast cancer, and it may take years to appear. Although many women note the pain, it is commonly undertreated. Pain is a multifaceted experience, and targeting the perception and cognition of pain may help women cope with it. Mindfulness-Based Therapy (MBT) teaches nonjudgmental observation of each moment as it arises and disappears. This principle is used to encourage increased acceptance of and openness to bodily sensations and emotional discomfort. The investigators expected that MBT would have a beneficial effect on pain in breast cancer patients.

Over 120 women, at least three months out from breast cancer treatment and with significant pain burdens, were chosen for this study. One group received no MBT training. &The second group participated in an MBT program. This consisted of weekly sessions teaching meditation, yoga and other MBT principles. Home practice was encouraged. Participants submitted questionnaires to assess their pain, well being and psychological distress. They also reported their use of non-prescription pain medications. The women who engaged in MBT had significant reductions in pain.

The investigators note that, with the high prevalence of pain among women who have completed their breast cancer treatment, MBT is an effective tool to offer.