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Research project: MABcan Understanding and perceptions of mindfulness-based interventions and development of an adapted mindfulness intervention for breast cancer patients

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The aim of this qualitative study is to explore breast cancer patients understanding and perceptions of mindfulness-based interventions, and to begin design and development of an adapted mindfulness intervention for breast cancer patients.


Living with breast cancer (BC) can cause considerable suffering, and for many the fear of recurrence of the cancer for early stage BC and fear of death for advanced BC patients can cause anxiety and depression which can last for a long time after the initial diagnosis, without a significant change in intensity. This suffering can be made worse by the presence of physical complaints such as fatigue and menopausal symptoms.

Interventions such as cognitive behavioural therapy are often used and can be helpful but the benefits are not always long lasting. Other interventions such as mindfulness-based meditation can be helpful for these symptoms and has been investigated in cancer and BC and found to be of benefit. Mindfulness involves learning a set of techniques that enable people to focus or live in the moment in a way that increases the ability to manage difficult experiences and feelings such as fear and anxiety, as one participant from a recent study commented ‘The help it gives me in connecting me to the present and grounding me – against the storms of emotion that strike, the waves of strong emotion, the fear of what’s going to happen…’. The standard mindfulness course consists of 1 session a week for 8 weeks lasting between 1½ - 2½ hours, with an additional one day 6 hour retreat, with 45 minutes homework per day. This can be difficult for BC patients to commit to if they are working, have children and if they are undergoing treatment.

In this study we plan to find out from BC patients how we can adapt the course to suit BC patients, and then design and develop it in partnership with patients and leading experts in the field of mindfulness.



Chief Investigator: Dr Caroline Eyles


Duration: 2014-2016


Funder: Breast Cancer Campaign






Related research groups

Primary Care, Population Sciences and Medical Education
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