The diagnosis of breast cancer and subsequent treatments can cause depression in patients. However, according to a recent study, the risk of depression can be reduced with mindfulness and meditation training in patients. Stating that the risk of depression in the patients participating in the study decreased from 50 percent to 20 percent after 6 months of this support, Anadolu Medical Center Medical Oncology Specialist Prof. Dr. Serdar Turhal said, “The results of this study are also very important, considering that the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer in patients under the age of 50 is highly likely to cause depression.”
Emphasizing that 247 patients were included in this study, according to the study presented at the breast cancer symposium held every year in San Antonio, USA, Anadolu Medical Center Medical Oncology Specialist Prof. Dr. Serdar Turhal conveyed the details of the research as follows: “85 of the breast cancer patients received additional awareness training, 81 of them were in the control group, and another 81 were given only survival training. The mean age of the patients is 45, 75 percent of them are married and 68 percent of them are working. Mastectomy (removal of the breast completely) was performed in 56 percent of the patients, 57 percent received chemotherapy, 65 percent received radiotherapy and anti-hormone therapy.”
Mindfulness training reduces the risk of depression
Underlining that a 6-week program is offered to patients from 2 hours a week, Medical Oncology Specialist Prof. Dr. Serdar Turhal said, “These patients were given a training by oncology nurses. During these awareness trainings, what awareness is, how to live with pain and difficult emotions, how to cope with these difficulties were explained, and separate training sessions were held. In the survival training, basic information about quality of life, physical activity, healthy diet, familial cancer risk, life and work balance, menopause, sexual life and body image are given as basic information about breast cancer. At the end of this training, it was observed that while 50 percent of the patients had depression symptoms at the beginning, these rates decreased to 20 percent in both the mindfulness training group and the survival training group. In other words, we see that the risk of depression decreases as the awareness of the disease increases, when psychological support is also received.