Research: CARLSON and co-workers,

Listed in Issue 102


CARLSON and co-workers, Department of Psychological Resources, Tom Baker Cancer Centre, Calgary, Alberta, Canada,, have evaluated the efficacy of mindfulness-based meditation for stress reduction in prostate and breast cancer outpatients.


The relationships between a mindfulness-based stress reduction protocol and quality of life, mood, stress symptoms, lymphocyte counts, and cytokine production (both markers of immune function) were investigated.


49 patients with breast cancer and 10 patients with prostate cancer were enrolled in an 8-week mindfulness-based stress reduction programme that incorporated relaxation, meditation, gentle yoga, and daily home practice. Quality of life and mood were assessed with questionnaires pre and post intervention. In addition, NK, NKT, B, T total, T helper, and T cytotoxic cells, as well as production of tumour necrosis factor, gamma-interferon, interleukin-4, and interleukin-10 were measured pre and post intervention.


Significant improvements were seen in overall quality of life, symptoms of stress, and sleep quality. Although there was no significant change in the overall number of lymphocytes, T-cell production of interleukin-4 increased and that of gamma-interferon decreased. NK cell production of interleukin-10 was found to decrease. The results are consistent with a shift in immune function from a profile associated with depression to a more normal profile


Participation in a mindfulness-based stress reduction programme was associated with better quality of life and decreased symptoms of stress in breast and prostate cancer outpatients. The results are underlined by associated changes in immune function.


Carlson LE, Speca M, Patel KD, Goodey E. Mindfulness-based stress reduction in relation to quality of life, mood, symptoms of stress, and immune parameters in breast and prostate cancer outpatients. Psychosomatic Medicine 65 (4): 571-581, Jul-Aug 2003.

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