Annals of Surgical Oncology

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 373–378 | Cite as

Improving Symptoms and Quality of Life of Female Cancer Survivors: a Randomized Controlled Study

  • Ruth Lerman
  • Robert Jarski
  • Heather Rea
  • Ronald Gellish
  • Frank Vicini
Healthcare Policy and Outcomes



Surgeons, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, emphasize the importance of managing symptoms and improving the quality of life of cancer survivors. A 2008 meta-analysis of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) concluded that this technique might improve patients’ adjustment to their disease. However, randomized controlled trials using standardized measures for evaluating MBSR are limited. The primary objective of this study was to evaluate, using valid and reliable measures, the effects of a unique, interactive, 8-week cancer recovery and wellness program on symptoms and quality of life of female cancer survivors.


Sixty-eight female cancer patients were randomized into either an intervention or waitlisted control group. Patients were evaluated using the Symptoms Checklist (SCL-90-R), the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-30), and the Symptoms of Stress Inventory (SOSI).


Of the participants, 70.6% were breast cancer survivors. Mean age was 57.5 years (treatment group) and 56.4 years (control group). Between-group demographic differences were not significant (P > 0.6). The treatment group improved significantly on the EORTC QLQ-30 (P = 0.005), on six of the eight SOSI subscales (P ≤ 0.049), and on both SCL-90-R subscales (P ≤ 0.023), while the control group did not improve on any of these measures (P > 0.2).


The MBSR-based cancer recovery and wellness intervention improved the symptoms and quality of life of this largely breast cancer survivor population across a variety of cancer symptoms and quality-of-life measures.


Cancer Survivor Breast Cancer Survivor Mindfulness Practice Treatment Group Patient Female Cancer Survivor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This study was funded in part by the 2010 Oakland University–William Beaumont Hospital Multidisciplinary Research Award. We gratefully acknowledge the study participants for their courage, determination, and openness.

Disclosure and Financial Support

The authors have no conflict of interest or commercial interests in the subject of study.


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Copyright information

© Society of Surgical Oncology 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ruth Lerman
    • 1
    • 2
  • Robert Jarski
    • 2
    • 3
  • Heather Rea
    • 3
  • Ronald Gellish
    • 3
  • Frank Vicini
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Marilyn and Walter J. Wolpin Comprehensive Breast Care CenterBeaumont Health SystemRoyal OakUSA
  2. 2.The OU William Beaumont School of MedicineOakland UniversityRochesterUSA
  3. 3.School of Health SciencesOakland UniversityRochesterUSA
  4. 4.Oncology ServicesBeaumont Health SystemRoyal OakUSA

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