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Relaxation 'can cut risk of breast cancer death'
Stress-busting psychological help can increase a woman's chances of surviving a recurrence of breast cancer, say researchers.
A psychological intervention programme devised by US researchers reduced the risk of women dying after the disease returned by 59 per cent.
Women enrolled into the programme were taught relaxation and problem-solving techniques, and given guidance on how to find support from family and friends.
Health benefits: A psychological intervention programme reduced the risk of women dying after their breast cancer returned by 59 per cent.
They were also offered advice on exercise and diet, and ways of coping with treatment side-effects.
Previous research by the same group found that psychological intervention after a breast cancer diagnosis reduced the risk of death by 56 per cent over an average of 11 years.
It also led to a 45 per cent reduced risk of breast cancer recurring after initial treatment.
Study leader Professor Barbara Andersen, from Ohio State University, said: 'Women who took part in the intervention programme do better across the board than do others, even if they have a recurrence.
'They learned how to cope with a cancer diagnosis when they were first diagnosed, and those lessons likely helped them deal with recurrence.'
Co-author Professor William Carson said the research highlighted the importance of stress in cancer.
'Stress may have an impact on the outcome of breast cancer patients,' he said. 'We're finding that reducing stress may be another powerful therapy to fight the disease.'
The latest study, published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research, is part of the long-running Stress and Immunity Breast Cancer Project at Ohio State University.
Launched in 1995, the study has monitored the progress of 227 women who were surgically treated for Stage II or Stage III breast cancer.
Half the patients were enrolled into the intervention programme while the rest were routinely assessed at regular intervals.
To begin with, members of the intervention programme met weekly with a clinical psychologist in groups of eight to 12. After four months of weekly sessions the meetings were held monthly for eight months.
'The intervention was intense and longer than most. Women who participated learned tangible ways to deal with their cancer, to make changes in their lives and solve problems,' said Prof Andersen.
'This study showed that those lessons stayed with them.'
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1285016/Relaxation-programme-cut-risk-breast-cancer-death.html#ixzz0qaSuaN45