WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?

Psychology is the branch of science that explores how people’s minds and emotions work, influencing the way we learn and behave, as well as the biological factors underpinning the way we think.

Our Purpose

Our purpose is to be a global facilitator of health and wellness through access, education and advancement of Traditional & Complementary Medicine (T&CM). The World Health Organization (WHO) advises that lifestyle-related diseases (or non-communicable diseases) are responsible for more than 70% of deaths worldwide each year.

Knowledge represents empowerment. By sharing this evidence-based, peer-reviewed research, we aim to support everyday people to take ownership of their wellness, by making informed decisions and choices in conjunction with their health professional.

How This Study Could Help Support Your Lung Health

In 2018, cancer was estimated by the WHO to be responsible for one in six of all deaths worldwide, making it second only to cardiovascular disease as a leading cause of mortality. This review explores the impact of psychological treatments for people with cancer. It is titled:

PSYCHOLOGICAL TREATMENTS TO IMPROVE QUALITY OF LIFE IN CANCER CONTEXTS: A META- ANALYSIS

You can read the full study here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1697260015000666#sec0055

Why Is This Study Important?

Although there are many ways of treating and managing cancer, there is still no outright cure. Side effects are among the greatest problems of standard cancer treatment: these could be physical such as damage to healthy cells, but are often also psychological such as sleep difficulty, worries regarding survival and depressive mood which can extend past the treatment phase.

Integrative oncology is known as the use of complementary therapies in addition to conventional methods to help treat symptoms of cancer or cancer treatment. This study suggests that psychological treatments “play a significant role in integrated care within cancer contexts”, and that they may have a positive impact on a patient’s mental health and personal wellbeing throughout the cancer journey.

Given there have been multiple studies conducted on the impact of psychological treatment on cancer patients’ quality of life with varying results, this study aimed to analyse the overall effect of psychological treatment. As a meta-analysis that reviewed 78 studies conducted between 1970 to 2012, with a total sample size of 7342 people, it is a valuable addition to the body of evidence on this issue.

What Does This Mean For My Wellness?

The researchers in this meta-analysis chose to conceptualise quality of life as a “whole, integrated state of physical, mental and socioemotional well-being”, even though some studies viewed it through a narrower lens. This multi-dimensional approach is in line with the increasing recognition that consideration of a person’s whole self is important for providing patient-centered care. This study touches on the impacts of cancer or cancer treatment on a person’s mental wellbeing, and positions it as something that should be considered andsupported.

For those who have been through  cancer  and  are looking for ways to improve their quality of life, psychological therapy may be an effective option. This is particularly so for people who have progressed past  active  cancer  treatment  and are faced with adjusting to a life that may look different from how it was before. Struggling with previously routine tasks can impact a person’s quality of life, and this study suggests that psychological treatment can help a person adjust more effectively to these changes.

The study found that the impact of psychological treatment on a person’s quality of life may be lessened for those who are undergoing active cancer treatment, but that it  may  still  assist  with side effects such as reducing somatic  anxiety (anxiety caused by an extreme focus on physical symptoms such as pain) or sleep issues.

How Does This Relate To Psychology?

Psychology is a broad field that supports people to understand how they think and feel without the use ofpharmaceutical drugs. In this meta-analysis, interventions such as psycho-education, coping skills training, support groups, and psychotherapy were included for review.

In order to isolate the effect of psychological interventions, studies that contained movement- based therapies such as physiotherapy were excluded. A strength of this meta-analysis was also its decision to include only studieswhich utilised a control group.

Through their review, the researchers affirmed previous studies which recommended that psychological  treatments  should  be   included  in a care team for cancer patients and survivors. According to them, psychological treatment has the potential to help people manage their emotions, cope with a cancer diagnosis and adapt to a new lifestyle, and increase their sense ofwellbeing..

Key Findings About Psychology for Cancer Patients

  • The researchers found that there was a statistically significant overall effect size of psychological treatments on the quality of life for cancer patients and survivors. This led them to suggest that “psychological treatments yield significant benefits on quality of life” in cancer patients
  • A key finding was that a person’s ‘clinical state’ had a significant moderating impact on the effect ofpsychological This meant that psychological treatments were more beneficial for cancer survivors, than for people going through active cancer treatment. The researchers commented that this was likely due to medical treatment being the main focus during that phase of the cancer journey.
  • Psychological treatments had a greater impact on a person’s quality of life, if those treatments also helped to reduce depressive symptoms. The review thereforerecommended that psychological treatment for cancer care should also include components aimed at reducing depressive

Disclaimer: The above does not constitute medical advice, and as with any exercise or wellness program, please consult your medical professional before commencing treatments involving psychology.

References

Psychology | SoulAdvisor
Cancer | World Health Organization
Psychological treatments to improve quality of life in cancer contexts: A meta-analysis | International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology
Integrative Oncology | An Overview
Patient-Centered Care | Science Direct

Quoted from journal description
The International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology, is a triannual peer-reviewed medical journal involving both theoretical and experimental areas contributing to the advancement of Clinical and Health Psychology.