How Meditation Can Help Teens With Cancer (study)

A recent study suggests mindfulness-based meditation can benefit diagnosed teens with sleep and depression issues. 

A new study from researchers at the University of Montreal suggests mindfulness-based meditation can improve sleep and help with depression in teenagers with cancer.

From the news post on the University of Montreal website:

Adolescents living with cancer face not only the physical symptoms of their condition, but also the anxiety and uncertainty related to the progression of the disease, the anticipation of physical and emotional pain related to illness and treatment, the significant changes implied in living with cancer, as well as the fear of recurrence after remission.

The study consisted of two groups of teenage cancer patients: an experimental group who took part in eight 90-minute mindfulness-based meditation sessions, and a control group who were placed on a waiting list.

Both groups filled out a questionnaire asking about mood, sleep, and quality of life prior to the study. Following the meditation sessions, both groups filled out the same questionnaire again.

Researchers found the group who had taken part in the sessions reported lower states of depression in the second questionnaire, and the female participants in that group reported improved sleep. Catherine Malboeuf-Hurtubise is the study’s head author and she’s a researcher with the university’s psychology department. She recognizes that the social support given during the sessions could have affected the participants as much as the meditation itself, but she said mindfulness-based meditation is “a promising option to lighten psychological inconveniences of living with cancer.”

You can read the university’s news post here. The study was published in the journal Trials.

To read more on mindfulness for cancer patients, you might want to read “The Best Medicine” from the October issue of Mindful magazine. Actor, comedian, playwright, and mindfulness teacher Elain Smookler talks about laughter in the presence of pain and how she decided to face her diagnosis of uterine cancer the way she faces everything in life: with a sense of humor.