Mindfulness-based cognitive group therapy for women with breast and gynaecologic cancer: effectiveness and feasibility — ASN Events

Mindfulness-based cognitive group therapy for women with breast and gynaecologic cancer: effectiveness and feasibility (#196)

Lesley Stafford 1 2 , Elizabeth Foley 3 , Fiona Judd 1 4 , Penny Gibson 1 , Litza Kiropoulos 2 5 , Jeremy Couper 6
  1. Royal Womens Hospital, Parkville, Vic, Australia
  2. Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
  3. Mindpotential, Sydney, Australia
  4. Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
  5. Psychology Department, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, Australia
  6. Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Vic, Australia

Aims: Group-based mindfulness training has been reported to benefit individuals with cancer but relatively few data exist on the effectiveness of Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) in this population. An MBCT intervention was pilot tested in women with breast or gynaecologic cancer to assess effectiveness and acceptability.

Eligible participants were undergoing cancer treatment or active follow-up. Participants were recruited to six groups and attended eight weekly 2-hour sessions focusing on mindfulness. Groups were conducted by two trained therapists according to an oncology-specific modification of the original MBCT manual. Daily home practice of meditation was encouraged and participants attended an additional 6-hour meditation session during the program. Assessment occurred before treatment, post-treatment and again three months post-treatment using validated self-report measures. Outcomes included distress, quality of life (QOL), mindfulness and post-traumatic growth. Items assessing evaluation of and satisfaction with the intervention were also included. Changes over time were analysed with repeated measures ANOVA with Bonferroni correction.

Results:Forty-two women (M±SD age =50.5±10.0 years) completed the 8-week program. Significant improvements with large effect sizes (ES) were observed for distress (P<.001; ES=.238), QOL (P=.001; ES=.204), post-traumatic growth (P<.001; ES=.243) and mindfulness (P<.001; ES=.363). Gains were maintained 3 months post-intervention. Improvements in outcomes did not differ based on diagnostic group, psychological status or physical wellbeing at entry. Change indices further support these findings. Scores on measures of distress, QOL and post-traumatic growth decreased as a function of increased mindfulness at each time-point (all P<.05). Participants reported experiencing the program as beneficial, particularly its group-based nature, and provided positive feedback of the therapy as a whole as well as its individual components.

Conclusion:There were significant improvements in all psychosocial outcomes following the intervention and these gains were maintained at 3 month follow-up. The program was considered highly beneficial and acceptable by patients. Within the limits of a non-randomized trial, these results provide strong, preliminary support for the provision of group-based MBCT in breast and gynaecology oncology settings.