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Effects of mindfulness meditation on patients with cancer : A review of literature (481P)


18 Nov 2017


Poster lunch


Keshinie Samarasekara


Annals of Oncology (2017) 28 (suppl_10): x144-x148. 10.1093/annonc/mdx673


K. Samarasekara

Author affiliations

  • Medicine, The National Hospital of Sri Lanka, 01000 - Colombo/LK



Mindfulness meditation is defined as an awareness of moment-by-moment experiences that arises from purposeful attention, along with nonjudgmental acceptance of the experiences. Patients with cancer undergo a number of stressful experiences from the point of being diagnosed with cancer. Therefore, meditation could help them improve their spiritual well-being which contributes to an overall improvement of quality of life.


Studies published from 2006-2016 were searched using PubMed. The inclusion criteria were: original research studying the impact of mindfulness meditation in patients with cancer. The following keywords were used in the search: meditation, mindfulness meditation, and cancer. The search retrieved twelve studies that met the criteria.


Six of the studies were randomised controlled trials; comparing the efficacy of mindfulness meditation with other interventions or with controls. Six studies enrolled patients with breast cancer only, whereas one study was on prostate cancer patients. Others were on patients with different types of cancer. The sample sizes of all the studies were small; the largest being 102. Eleven studies demonstrated a significant improvement in quality of life and/or a reduction in stress with mindfulness meditation. Only one study, which compared massage therapy alone vs massage therapy in combination with meditation, showed that there was no significant difference between the two groups. Eleven studies used pre-intervention and post-intervention questionnaires with various scoring systems and scales (e.g. Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale [HADS]), European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer-Quality of Life Core-30) to assess efficacy, whereas one study utilised a qualitative assessment with semi-structured interviews. Two of the studies have utilized testing on samples of blood/saliva in addition to data collected using questionnaires. One such study showed a significant reduction in proinflammatory gene expression and inflammatory signaling post-intervention. The other showed a reduction in salivary cortisol level.


The review of literature shows benefits of mindfulness meditation for patients with cancer.

Clinical trial identification

Legal entity responsible for the study

Dr. K. R. Samarasekara




All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.

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