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Breast cancer survival improves with stress relief

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Stress relief treatments can increase women’s chances of surviving a recurrence of breast cancer, a new study has claimed.

US researchers say a psychological intervention programme cut the risk of women dying after the disease returned by about 59%. Relaxation methods and problem-solving techniques were demonstrated to women who enrolled on the project, as well as the best way to get support from family and friends.

Ohio State University’s long-running Stress and Immunity Breast Cancer Project found that 62 women out of 227 studied since 1995 suffered a breast cancer recurrence. Of those who died after recurrence, women in the intervention group lived for an average of six months longer.

All women who suffered a recurrence displayed high levels of psychological stress, the study reported in Clinical Cancer Research journal. But those in the programme group showed an emotional improvement as time went on that others did not share.

Study author professor Barbara Anderson said: “If psychological interventions are offered early to breast cancer patients they may provide enduring late benefits, and possibly longer survival.”

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