Research: VAN DER POMPE and colleag

Listed in Issue 19


VAN DER POMPE and colleagues review (77 references) the effects of psychosocial interventions upon psychological and biological functioning of breast cancer patients. The authors write that once in their lifetime, one out of eleven women receives a diagnosis of breast cancer, a severe stressful life event with profound consequences upon all aspects of their life. To what extent a woman regains her emotional balance and accepts the idea of living with a potentially life-threatening disease depends upon her psychological resiliency. Providing psychosocial interventions could improve women's coping abilities, reduce emotional distress and feelings of isolation and improve psychosexual functioning. There is also some evidence that psychotherapy may prolong survival, which may be related, in part, to an increase in certain aspects of immune function, such as natural killer cell activity. This may be plausible because the function of the immune system appears to be related to breast tumour growth.





Future research should examine the degree to which the effects upon mammary tumour growth are related to immune system changes.


van der Pompe G et al. Adjustment to breast cancer: the psychobiological effects of psychosocial interventions. Patient Educ Couns 28(2): 209-19. Jul 1996.

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