Meditation and Cancer
Categories: Benefits of Meditation, Blog, Healthcare and Meditation, Meditation and Sleep, Pain Management
The “C” word is enough to make your heart skip a beat. Cancer. No one wants it. Some people get it and chances are, you will know someone who has had it. More than 12 million new cancer cases were recorded worldwide in 2008, and the number continues to grow. By the year 2030, it is estimated that more than 20,000,000 people will be diagnosed. From surgery and radiation to seemingly endless medications, cancer is incredibly taxing on the body, mind and spirit. There aren’t many homeopathic solutions when dealing with something that serious. It might seem like a bunch of phooey at first, but meditation for cancer patients can improve psychological well being, reduce anxiety, stress and pain and aid the overall quality of life.
A 2000 study measured 90 cancer patients with various diagnoses. After seven weeks, the group who completed Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MSBR) showed significant improvements. They had 31% lower stress symptoms and 67% less mood disturbance than the control group and also fewer cardiopulmonary and gastrointestinal symptoms. The benefits still showed after a six-month follow-up and researchers found greater decreases in overall mood disturbance, anxiety, depression, and irritability in those who had a home meditation practice.
In 2006, researchers took a look at nine studies from the past five years involving mindfulness meditation and cancer. The results revealed, “Consistent benefits–improved psychological functioning, reduction of stress symptoms, enhanced coping and well-being in cancer outpatients” who practiced mindfulness meditation. Furthermore, the study said mindfulness meditation has clinically relevant implications to alleviate psychological and physical suffering of persons living with cancer. Use of this behavioral intervention for oncology patients is an area of burgeoning interest to clinicians and researchers.
Furthermore, some research suggests that mindfulness meditation can positively alter the levels of DHEA hormones that might affect the progression of certain hormonally-influenced cancers. Or that it may protect against cognitive impairment, a common issue among cancer patients. Patients also have reported meditation helping to control problems such as pain, tiredness, feeling sick, difficulty sleeping and high blood pressure.
The research seem endless. Another study on women with early stage breast cancer found that MBSR improved immune function, coping ability, quality of life and a reduction in stress levels.
Mind you, meditation does not prevent or cure cancer. Ultimately, meditation for cancer patients helps them feel better. The benefits won’t happen overnight, but if the cancer patient continues to try even a little bit everyday, they will begin to feel calmer less stressed. A regular meditation practice will help cancer patients cope with their condition and negative effects. If you are someone you know is battling cancer, give meditation a try. It could make a world of difference.
Note: Specifically, with regards to medical issues, always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the Web site.
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