Cancer Patients’ Quality of Life is Associated with Mindfulness
By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.
“Mindfulness-based intervention . . . may help to decrease the stress of cancer-related cognitive impairment and can therefore indirectly improve quality of life in this patient population.” – Hannah Slater
Receiving a diagnosis of cancer has a huge impact on most people. Feelings of depression, anxiety, and fear are very common and are normal responses to this life-changing and potentially life-ending experience. But cancer diagnosis is not necessarily a death sentence. Over half of the people diagnosed with cancer are still alive 10 years later and this number is rapidly increasing. But, surviving cancer carries with it a number of problems. Anxiety, depression, fatigue and insomnia are common symptoms in the aftermath of surviving breast cancer. These symptoms markedly reduce the quality of life of the patients. Mindfulness training has been shown to help with cancer recovery and help to relieve chronic pain. It can also help treat the residual physical and psychological symptoms, including stress, sleep disturbance, fear, and anxiety and depression.
In today’s Research News article “Stress and Quality of Life of Patients with Cancer: The Mediating Role of Mindfulness.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7748895/ ) Dehghan and colleagues recruited adult patients diagnosed with cancer and had them complete measures of mindfulness, perceived stress, and quality-of-life; including overall, functioning, and symptoms. They performed regression and path analysis on these data.
They found that the higher the level of mindfulness, the higher the level of quality-of-life functioning and the lower the level of perceived stress and quality of life symptoms. Also, the higher the level of perceived stress the higher the level of quality-of-life symptoms and the lower the level of overall and functioning quality of life. They reported from the path analysis that perceived stress was associated with poorer quality of life directly and indirectly by being associated with lower levels of mindfulness which were in turn associated with greater quality of life. In other words, perceived stress was associated with reduced quality of life in part by being associated with reduced mindfulness.
These results are correlative and causation cannot be determined. But prior manipulative research has demonstrated that mindfulness produces lower perceived stress and greater quality of life, So, the associations reported here are likely due to causal connections between the variables. Hence, the findings suggest that the quality of life of cancer patients is lowered by stress and this is in part due to stress lowering mindfulness.
So, cancer patients’ quality of life is associated with mindfulness.
“Mindfulness based interventions hold a great deal of promise for helping people with cancer cope across a broad range of symptoms and issues, both during and after the completion of active treatment.” – Jessica Pieczynski
CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies
This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch
Dehghan, M., Jazinizade, M., Malakoutikhah, A., Madadimahani, A., Iranmanesh, M. H., Oghabian, S., Mohammadshahi, F., Janfaza, F., & Zakeri, M. A. (2020). Stress and Quality of Life of Patients with Cancer: The Mediating Role of Mindfulness. Journal of Oncology, 2020, 3289521. https://doi.org/10.1155/2020/3289521
Cancer is one of the major health problems worldwide, which in addition to physical disorders, causes stress and anxiety in patients and affects the quality of life of cancer patients. Mindfulness can affect stress and improve the quality of life. This research explained the correlation between stress, quality of life, and mindfulness.
Materials and Methods
Two hundred five cancer patients participated in this cross-sectional study. Patients completed the EORTC Quality of Life Questionnaire Core 30 (EORTC QLQ-C30), the Mindfulness Attention and Awareness Scale (MAAS), and Perceived Stress Scale (PSS).
Perceived stress and mindfulness predict nearly 39% of the changes of QOL in cancer patients. In addition, perceived stress was negatively associated with mindfulness and quality of life (P < 0.05). Mindfulness was positively correlated with quality of life (P < 0.05). Mindfulness played a mediating role in the relationship between perceived stress and quality of life (standardized β = −0.13; SE = 0.07, 95% confidence interval = −0.28 to −0.01; P value = 0.04).
In the present study, the variables of mindfulness and perceived stress affected the quality of life of cancer patients. Mindfulness can affect the quality of life of cancer patients directly and indirectly. These results emphasize the importance of mindfulness in the lives of cancer patients.