THURSDAY, Feb. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Cancer patients' sense of well-being during treatment can improve if they're provided with help to deal with stress, fatigue and other quality-of-life issues, a small new study suggests.
Researchers evaluated 113 patients with advanced cancer who were undergoing radiation treatment. Most of the patients were in their late 50s, and 63 percent were male.
Half of the patients were enrolled in a program to help them with their mental, physical, emotional, social and spiritual well-being. The six 90-minute sessions in the program -- developed by cancer-care specialists at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. -- included exercises to improve fatigue, discussions about coping strategies or spiritual concerns, and deep breathing to reduce stress.
The remaining patients kept to their standard routines and relied on their own therapists, counselors or clergy to help them cope during their cancer treatment.
The patients in the standard-care group showed a decline in quality-of-life measures during cancer treatment, while those in the support program showed improvements, according to the study, which was published in the February issue of the journal Cancer.
"Much of the success may be that the program is active and engaged, and patients participated in the sessions as part of a group," study lead author and psychologist Matthew Clark said in a Mayo news release. "They received support and encouragement to go home and practice things like physical activity, spirituality and relaxation."
The patients in the therapy program, however, did not have higher quality-of-life levels six months after cancer treatment.
"The intervention is helpful at a critical time, but doesn't have a lasting enhancing effect," Clark said. "Our hope is to develop strategies to help people maintain and then improve their quality of life throughout survivorship."
The American Cancer Society has more about coping with cancer.
SOURCE: Mayo Clinic, news release, Feb. 18, 2013
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Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:33 PM
I wonder what kind of cancer these folks had. I can't imagine anybody's quality of life improving as throat cancer treatment (radiation, sometimes surgery and/or chemo) progresses, or even in the weeks afterward. I have never heard of it.
Wed Mar 06, 2013 11:50 PM
My father had throat cancer after a lifetime of heavy smoking. It helps to have support of family and friends. Just try to get through each day as best you can. If possible, get some fresh air, watch funny tv programs and movies, when weather permits, grow some veggies, buy a bird feeder. All of those things helped Dad cope. He had to have his voice box removed so he talked like Daffy Duck, and the support group he belonged to had a sense of humor and were very kind to him. Best wishes to you.
Thu Mar 07, 2013 02:37 AM
This is my second time dealing with cancet. 2005, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and in 2012 I was again diagnosed with cancer, oesophageal cancer. In both cases, I had surgery,chemo and radiation. I was eager to do whatever I could after my first bout with cancer; support group, friends and family support, stress management, Reiki, meditation, exercise, nutrition, visualization, counselling, literature, pastoral care. I was living alone at that time so I relied alot on friends. When I was diagnosed with cancer again in 2012, I was much more prepared and comfortable with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy and now live with family. I attribute my positive attitude to the wide variety of resources I have collected and primary to the people who are there for me. I now am stage 4 and starting chemotherapy for the third time. I still have faith because I am doing all that I possibly can to work at my life and how I deal with my condition.
Thu Mar 07, 2013 09:03 AM
Wow Milliep. You are a true source of inspiration. May you continue to be showered with blessings.
Sun Mar 10, 2013 06:43 PM
Fri Mar 22, 2013 02:01 AM
I am starting a 3 month chemotherapy treatment for aggressive lymph nodes in the left neck and underarm related to my Feb 2012 oesophageal surgery. I had a lymph node (malignant)removed in June followed by 25 radiation treatments and they returned in October. I have had a painful shoulder and arm due to the lymph nodes so I am hoping that my treatment will shrink them and reduce the arm pain. I am considered a stage 4 so I am hoping that this will help to keep me comfortable.
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