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OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this pilot study was to test the feasibility of delivering the mobile mindfulness-based stress reduction for breast cancer (mMBSR(BC)) program using an iPad and to evaluate its impact on symptom improvement. METHODS: A single group, pre-posttest design was implemented among female stages 0-III breast cancer survivors (BCS) who completed treatment. Data were collected at baseline and week 6 on measures of psychological and physical symptoms and quality of life. The mMBSR(BC) program is a standardized, stress-reducing intervention that combines sitting and walking meditation, body scan, and yoga and is designed to deliver weekly 2-hour sessions for 6 weeks using an iPad. RESULTS: The mean age of the 15 enrolled BCS was 57 years; one participant was non-Hispanic black, and 14 were non-Hispanic white. Of the 13 who completed the study, there were significant improvements from baseline to 6 weeks post-mMBSR(BC) in psychological and physical symptoms of depression, state anxiety, stress, fear of recurrence, sleep quality, fatigue, and quality of life (P's < .05). Effect sizes for improvements of multiple symptoms ranged from medium to large. CONCLUSIONS: These results provide preliminary support that the mMBSR(BC) program may be feasible and acceptable, showing a clinical impact on decreasing psychological and physical symptoms. This mobile-based program offers a delivery of a standardized MBSR(BC) intervention to BCS that is convenient for their own schedule while decreasing symptom burden in the survivorship phase after treatment for breast cancer.

Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) reduces symptoms of depression, anxiety, and fear of recurrence among breast cancer (BC) survivors. However, the effects of MBSR (BC) on telomere length (TL) and telomerase activity (TA), known markers of cellular aging, psychological stress, and disease risk, are not known. This randomized, wait-listed, controlled study, nested within a larger trial, investigated the effects of MBSR (BC) on TL and TA. BC patients (142) with Stages 0-III cancer who had completed adjuvant treatment with radiation and/or chemotherapy at least 2 weeks prior to enrollment and within 2 years of completion of treatment with lumpectomy and/or mastectomy were randomly assigned to either a 6-week MBSR for BC program or a usual care. Assessments of TA and TL were obtained along with psychological measurements at baseline, 6 weeks, and 12 weeks after completing the MBSR(BC) program. The mean age of 142 participants was 55.3 years; 72% were non-Hispanic White; 78% had Stage I or II cancer; and 36% received both chemotherapy and radiation. In analyses adjusted for baseline TA and psychological status, TA increased steadily over 12 weeks in the MBSR(BC) group (approximately 17%) compared to essentially no increase in the control group (approximately 3%, p < .01). In contrast, no between-group difference was observed for TL (p = .92). These results provide preliminary evidence that MBSR(BC) increases TA in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from BC patients and have implications for understanding how MBSR(BC) may extend cell longevity at the cellular level.