Face-to-Face and Internet-Based Counseling Therapy Both Help Ease Fear and Anxiety in People With Cancer


After a cancer diagnosis, many people are angry, scared, confused, and depressed. All these feelings are a perfectly normal reaction. Still, if your feelings are getting in the way of you living your life and focusing on treatment and healing, you might want to consider seeking help from someone who has experience in helping people navigate the emotional roller coaster of cancer.

A number of small studies have shown that a specific type of counseling therapy, called mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, can help ease pain, fatigue, depression, and other psychological distress in women diagnosed with breast cancer.

Still, not everyone has the ability to see a mindfulness-based cognitive therapist in person. A small Dutch study suggests offering this type of counseling via the internet offers the same benefits as face-to-face counseling.

The research was published online on June 28, 2018 by the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Read the abstract of “Face-to-Face and Internet-Based Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Compared With Treatment as Usual in Reducing Psychological Distress in Patients With Cancer: A Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial.”

The study included 245 people who had been diagnosed with cancer and were experiencing anxiety, depression, and/or other psychological distress related to the cancer diagnosis, based on regularly used assessment tools:

  • 210 (85.7%) of the participants were women
  • 151 (61.6%) of the participants had been diagnosed with breast cancer

The people were randomly assigned to one of three groups:

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