Art work, meditation and group support may help cancer patients live more fulfilling life

July 30, 2002

Coping with cancer can lead to uncertainty about what kind of life a patient will have in the future. But sometimes it can help to have other things to focus on-to develop a better perspective about the road ahead.

A new group support therapy program for cancer patients employing a combination of art, meditation and other support mechanisms is being studied by researchers at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia.

The goal of the "Live Better with the Uncertainty of Cancer" study, also known as Mindfulness-Based Art Therapy (MBAT), is to see if psychological stress and the severity of medical symptoms can be reduced, and the overall quality of life for cancer patients enhanced, explains principal investigator Daniel Monti, M.D., section chief of Complementary and Alternative Medicine and assistant professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University.

"The therapy emphasizes creative expression and meditation as a means to not only reduce stress for these patients but to try to give them a positive outlook on a life that may not seem so rosy at the moment," said Dr. Monti, who is also director of the mind-body medicine program at the Center for Integrative Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. Participants need not have any previous art experience or training. "In fact, some of the participants who got the most benefit from the program felt they had little or no artistic skills or talents prior to entering," he said.

The study is supported by a $400,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health/National Center for Compl

ementary and Alternative Medicine, and is being conducted cooperatively by Jefferson's Department of Psychiatry, the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson and Jefferson's Center for Integrative Medicine. There are 47 cancer patients currently enrolled in the study. Researchers plan to enroll 114 patients over the course of the study.

The study is a larger version of a pilot program Dr. Monti and his colleagues conducted in June 2000. Results of the study are being compiled, but the researchers felt the program was beneficial to patients and that a larger trial was warranted, Dr. Monti said.

"Previous studies have suggested that supportive and expressive groups for cancer patients can enhance their quality of life," he said. "The advantage of this intervention is that supportive and expressive aspects of the group are enhanced by the mindfulness-meditation techniques and the artistic expression."

Study participants can expect to create various art works through drawing and working with clay.

"This gives the participants a tangible medium to express their internal turmoil," Dr. Monti explained. "It is often very distressing to receive a diagnosis of cancer and the available treatments can be a very difficult process. The MBAT intervention provides an innovative forum in which to de-stress from these harrowing experiences."

Qualified candidates are both male and female adults who have been diagnosed with cancer or had a recurrence within two years. The participants are divided into two groups to better evaluate whether the MBAT therapy is effective, Dr. Monti said.

One group receives mindful-based stress reduction training and art therapy as soon as they enter the study. The second group receives MBAT therapy in eight weeks.

After about two months, both groups are evaluated and compared to see the differences. There will be separate sessions for men and women.

Patients interested in the study can call 215-955-8370 for more information.
-end-
Contact: Jeffrey Adam Baxt
or Phyllis Fisher
215/955-6300
After Hours: 215/955-6060
email: jeffrey.a.baxt@mail.tju.edu

Thomas Jefferson University

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.