Meditation eased pain, anxiety and fatigue in women undergoing a breast cancer biopsy.
Music was also effective but to a lesser extent.
The group using guided loving-kindness meditation focused on building positive emotions towards the patients themselves and others and on releasing negative emotions.
Patients in the music group listened to their choice of instrumental jazz, classical piano, harp and flute, nature sounds or world music.
A third group of patients were given the standard care of supportive and comforting dialogue with the radiologist or technician.
The researchers at Duke Cancer Institute found that patients in the meditation and music groups were less anxious and fatigued after the biopsy than the other group.
The meditation group also showed significantly lower pain during the biopsy compared to the other two groups.
“Image-guided needle biopsies for diagnosing breast cancer are very efficient and successful, but the anxiety and potential pain can have a negative impact on patient care,” said Mary Scott Soo, M.D., associate professor of radiology at the Institute.
“Patients who experience pain and anxiety may move during the procedure, which can reduce the effectiveness of biopsy, or they may not adhere to follow-up screening and testing,” Soo said.
She explained that using medical approaches like anti anxiety drugs, sedated patients who then required someone to drive them home.
“Meditation is simple and inexpensive and could be a good alternative in these settings” , she added.
“It’s important that we address these issues to provide a better experience and more compassionate care for our patients,” Soo stressed.
The study is published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.