Cancer Survivors Benefit from Meditation: New Data

Weekly courses in meditation, yoga and communication can improve the quality of life for cancer patients even years after their diagnosis, according to new data.

The information was presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Society of Breast Surgeons in Washington, D.C.

"It's important for doctors to know that their patients may still experience psychological distress and they need to ask about it and have resources available," Dr. Ruth Lerman, who led the research at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, told Reuters Health.

"I think that the health value of meditation is remarkable. And it's becoming accepted now in Western medicine," she added.

Lerman's team randomized 68 female cancer patients (a treatment group of 48 and control group of 20). The treatment group attended weekly two-hour classes for eight weeks. They learned meditation and communication skills, and practiced meditation at home an average of half-an-hour per day.

All patients then rated their quality of life on a questionnaire and stress and symptom lists. The treatment group improved in all respects. According to Dr. Lerman, the effect sizes were moderate. There were no significant improvements in the control group.

For more information on the study, click here.

Read mindfulness teacher Elana Rosenbaum's personal story, Practicing with Cancer.