Metastatic Breast Cancer and Mood State
In a trial with 125 women(1), suffering from metastatic breast cancer, were divided into two groups. The control group receiving educational materials on cancer only. The women in the other group were offered 1 year of weekly supportive-expressive group therapy.
The groups were assessed at the beginning of the trial and every 4 months. Women in the intervention group showed a significant decline in traumatic stress symptoms as compared to the control group. No other difference in mood states scores were noticed. Secondary analysis showed significant decline in total mood disturbances and traumatic stress symptoms.
In conclusion, one more investigation of group support and cancer.(2) This time the focus of the study was Malignant Melanoma. Participants with stage I or II malignant melanoma received no treatment other than the surgical removal of the malignant cells. The intervention group received health education, enhancement of problem solving skills, relaxation training, and psychologic support. The 35 patients in the intervention group, which met in clusters of 7-10 people once a week for 90 minutes, for six weeks, had significant increases in percentages of NK cells, an increase in NK-cell ability to kill invaders, and a decrease in the percentage of helper-inducer T cells. Psychologic stress was also reduced for the members of this group. Results were distinguishable after 6 months of group intervention, with the change in immunologic results frequently exceeding 25% for the intervention group, with the majority of participants experiencing these changes. In the control group less than one third of patients showed any changes.
From all this research on thing becomes evident, if you or someone you know suffers from cancer, the best bet might be to participate in some form of therapy or group support. The other modality providing symptom relieve is hypnosis. It is clearly shown through these studies, that, even though, a lot of times life extension is not possible, the quality of life improves dramatically for patients participating in some type of group support. This is what it all comes down to eventually. The quality of life we have when affected by disease, and of course, we all wish to depart this planet with as much dignity as possible. This opens up a topic for a series of posts in the future. Clinical ethics and patients rights.
Up next the Stress Management and Optimal Wellness.
1. Classen C. et al. Supportive-Expressive Group Therapy and Distress in Patients with Metastatic Breast Cancer: A Randomized Clinical Intervention Trial. Arch Gen Psychiatry 58:494 (2001)
2. Fawzy F. et al: A Structured Psychiatric Intervention for Cancer Patients. Arch Gen Psychiatr 47:729 (1990).