Psychological Counseling May Improve Survival of Breast Cancer Sufferers
By undergoing sessions which focused on improving mood, effective coping and altering health behaviors, it seemed the patients’ stress levels were reduced and this helped them to live longer.
The study was conducted by researchers at Ohio State University and involved over 200 women who had been recently diagnosed with breast cancer at the commencement of the study. It was published in the Dec 2008 issue of the journal Cancer and had lasted for an 11-year period.
Patients were randomly assigned to receive psychological intervention. The study found that those who went through such intervention had only 55% the chance of cancer recurrence, as compared to those who did not. In addition, those who received intervention had, on average, a cancer-free period of 6 months more than those who did not.
In addition, counseled patients had 44% the risk of death from breast cancer, as compared to those who did not receive counseling. Their risk of death from any cause was reduced, too.
“If efficacious psychological interventions to reduce stress are delivered early, they will improve mental health, health and treatment-relevant behaviors, and potentially, biologic outcomes. If so, there is the possibility for improved survivorship and survival for cancer patients,” stated the study team.
How does it work? It may well be that psychological interventions have positive effects on the immune system.
Broadly speaking, the findings of this study is consistent with those of previous studies, which had found that psychological intervention marked bettered psychological, behavioral and health outcomes, as well as improved immune function.
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