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Mind and cancer

does psychosocial intervention improve survival and psychological well-being?
  • L Ross
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author. Tel. +45-3525-7500; fax: +45-3525-7731
    Affiliations
    Department of Psychosocial Cancer Research, Institute of Cancer Epidemiology, Danish Cancer Society, Strandboulevarden 49, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
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  • E.H Boesen
    Affiliations
    Department of Psychosocial Cancer Research, Institute of Cancer Epidemiology, Danish Cancer Society, Strandboulevarden 49, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
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  • S.O Dalton
    Affiliations
    Department of Psychosocial Cancer Research, Institute of Cancer Epidemiology, Danish Cancer Society, Strandboulevarden 49, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
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  • C Johansen
    Affiliations
    Department of Psychosocial Cancer Research, Institute of Cancer Epidemiology, Danish Cancer Society, Strandboulevarden 49, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
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      Abstract

      The aim of this review was to evaluate the scientific evidence for an effect of psychosocial intervention on survival from cancer and well-being and in particular on anxiety and depression. A literature search yielded 43 randomised studies of psychosocial intervention. Four of the eight studies in which survival was assessed showed a significant effect, and the effect on anxiety and depression was also inconsistent, indicating three possible explanations: (i) only some of the intervention strategies affect prognosis and/or well-being and in only certain patient groups; (ii) the effect was weak, so that inconsistent results were found in the generally small study populations; or (iii) the effect was diluted by the inclusion of unselected patient groups rather than being restricted to patients in need of psychosocial support. Thus, large-scale studies with sound methods are needed in which eligible patients are screened for distress. Meanwhile, the question of whether psychosocial intervention among cancer patients has a beneficial effect remains unresolved.

      Keywords

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