Can mindfulness-based interventions help adolescents with cancer?: Can mindfulness-based interventions help adolescents with cancer?
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 2013
Pages: 2148 - 2151
Source ID: shanti-sources-54011
Abstract: During the past 30 years, there has been an increase in the incidence of cancer in adolescents. While recent studies have illustrated remarkable resilience in youth living with cancer, they can also face daunting acute and chronic adjustment struggles, cognitive and school problems, family and peer relational difficulties, depression, post-traumatic stress symptoms, and other anxiety disorders. Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs), increasingly shown to be effective in a variety of medical and mental health settings, may be particularly beneficial for adolescents with cancer. This paper reviews evidence from clinical trials of MBIs showing a variety of benefits for adult cancer patients, adolescents with anxiety disorders and chronic pain, and clinically healthy teenagers, which collectively point to likely benefits of MBIs for teen cancer patients. The authors also explore ways that the particular psychological problems often faced by teen cancer patients, including anxiety about the future, may be especially well suited to mindfulness approaches such as learning to observe physical sensations, thoughts, and emotions, as well as cultivating compassion towards themselves and others. The paper concludes with an exploration of unanswered and potential research questions regarding the future use of MBIs with adolescents with cancer, and potentially with teenagers with other chronic diseases.