Theoretical Rationale and Case Illustration of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Fear of Cancer Recurrence

Abstract

Fear of cancer recurrence (FCR) is a common problem among cancer survivors and evidence-based interventions grounded in theoretical models are needed. Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is an evidence-based intervention for reducing health anxiety that could be useful to apply to FCR. However, there has only been one study of MBCT for FCR to date, and the theoretical rationale and practical application of MBCT for FCR has not been described. The purpose of this paper is to offer an evidence-based rationale for MBCT to treat FCR based on a health anxiety model; describe the process of adapting MBCT to target FCR; and present a case study of the adapted protocol for treating FCR in a young adult breast cancer survivor to illustrate its delivery, feasibility, acceptability, and associated changes in outcomes. Clinical implications and directions for future research are discussed.

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Funding

This study was supported by funds from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (T32AT000051; CML, DLH) and National Cancer Institute (K24CA197832; ERP).

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Correspondence to Christina M. Luberto.

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Christina M. Luberto, Daniel L. Hall, Emma Chad-Friedman, and Elyse R. Park declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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This study was deemed exempt from IRB approval. The patient gave permission for her case to be described with anonymity.

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Luberto, C.M., Hall, D.L., Chad-Friedman, E. et al. Theoretical Rationale and Case Illustration of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Fear of Cancer Recurrence. J Clin Psychol Med Settings 26, 449–460 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10880-019-09610-w

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Keywords

  • Cancer
  • Fear of recurrence
  • Health anxiety
  • Mindfulness
  • Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy