Current Breast Cancer Reports

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 28–34 | Cite as

Improving Breast Cancer Survivors’ Psychological Outcomes and Quality of Life: Alternatives to Traditional Psychotherapy

  • Angie S. LeRoy
  • Allison Shields
  • Michelle A. Chen
  • Ryan L. Brown
  • Christopher P. Fagundes
Psycho-Oncology and Supportive Care (E Shinn and C Fagundes, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Psycho-Oncology and Supportive Care


Purpose of Review

Breast cancer survivors (BCS) often experience psychological problems and lowered quality of life (QOL). While helpful, psychotherapy is often costly and inaccessible. This review aims to provide practitioners with the latest information on empirically tested interventions among BCS that may be used in lieu of, or in addition to, traditional psychotherapy.

Recent Findings

Recent developments in cancer-related psychological interventions include a focus on facilitating emotional disclosure (e.g., expressive writing), enhancing close relationships (e.g., couples-based interventions), and increasing feasibility and accessibility via online and computer-based intervention programs. These alternatives to psychotherapy offer a number of benefits including cost-effectiveness, personalized adaptability, and ease of implementation.


Utilizing these interventions as alternatives or supplements to traditional psychotherapy may offer BCS an opportunity to increase their QOL, improve psychosocial outcomes, and find meaning in their cancer experience. Choosing the appropriate intervention requires understanding the unique circumstances for each survivor and their family.


Breast cancer Breast cancer interventions Psychosocial outcomes Quality of life 



Preparation of the manuscript was supported by a grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (R01HL127260-01) to C. P. Fagundes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Christopher P. Fagundes has received a grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (R01HL127260-01).

Angie S. LeRoy, Allison Shields, Michelle A. Chen, and Ryan L. Brown declare that they have no competing interests.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Angie S. LeRoy
    • 1
    • 2
  • Allison Shields
    • 3
  • Michelle A. Chen
    • 2
  • Ryan L. Brown
    • 2
  • Christopher P. Fagundes
    • 2
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyThe University of HoustonHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyRice University, Bioscience Research CollaborativeHoustonUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA
  4. 4.Department of Symptom ResearchThe University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA
  5. 5.Department of PsychiatryBaylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA

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