Cancer Survivorship Research Spotlighted Internationally

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the largest cancer society in the world, recently spotlighted a breast cancer research program at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso).

The research, led by Professor Zeina Nahleh, M.D., focused on quality of life among Latina breast cancer survivors.

Studies have show that Latinas have higher rates of fatigue and depression following breast cancer remission. To help address this disparity, Dr. Nahleh created a local cancer survivorship program that focuses on increasing survivors’ energy and physical functioning, as well as reducing depression and anxiety.

Latina breast cancer survivors were invited to attend an eight-week training course — in either English or Spanish — that focused on mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). MBSR uses a combination of meditation, body awareness, and yoga to help manage pain and stress.

Each participant also received a personalized treatment strategy, which included dietary advice and in-depth, one-on-one psychological assessments and treatment.

At the end of the intervention, participants showed significant and long-lasting improvements in their depression and anxiety. Dr. Nahleh’s study highlights the need for individual treatment and attention among minority patients who have battled cancer.