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  • 1 May 2016 to 30 April 2017
  • Project No: 321
  • Funding round: FR 11

Ovarian cancer (OvCa) is one of the more common forms of cancer in women in the UK. After initial treatment, cancer will return in the majority of women. Having a cancer return after treatment is a very traumatic experience, primarily because at this point the cancer is classified as being terminal and all subsequent treatment is palliative rather than curative. As a result of this, ovarian cancer patients who encounter recurrence often experience a high level of psychological distress, depression and anxiety. This is an important issue as cancer patients with clinical depression and anxiety often have higher mortality rates, spend longer in hospital and typically experience poorer treatment outcomes and poorer quality of life. Therefore the effective management of these psychological conditions in women with recurrent ovarian cancer is vital if we are to maximise quality of life throughout the cancer journey. One potentially effective and moderately well researched way of doing so may be through the use of Mindfulness based approaches. Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), is a technique created in the traditions of Buddhism, which aims to help patients experience life in a present moment, with self-compassion and in a non-judgemental way. Current evidence suggests that cancer patients using mindfulness experience reductions in depression, anxiety, stress and general mood disturbance as well as associated increases in quality of life and wellbeing. In addition to the impact of MBSR on these psychological and emotional issues, there is some evidence to suggest that group based support programmes utilising mindfulness may change physiological functions in the body that could result in increased survival times in cancer patients. The possible benefits of interventions such as mindfulness may be due to the positive impacts of such interventions on systems central to cancer progression such as the immune system. The available evidence suggests that group based support programmes that utilise mindfulness may help cancer patients in terms of their quality and possibly also their quantity of life. However, no research to date has looked at using mindfulness in women with recurrent ovarian cancer. The aim of this study is to address this issue.

Amount awarded: £28,181

Evidence synthesis working group

The collaboration will be conducting 18 high impact systematic reviews, under four workstreams.

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