Meditation and music may reduce pain, anxiety and fatigue associated with a breast cancer biopsy, a new study suggests.
Researchers from the Duke Cancer Institute in Durham, N.C., evaluated 121 women who listened to recorded meditation or music, or received standard care during image-guided needle biopsies.
The meditation focused on creating positive emotions and dispelling negative feelings, while the music was a patient’s choice of instrumental jazz, classical piano, harp and flute, nature sounds or world music. Standard care was a health care worker offering casual conversation and support.
Compared to those in the standard care group, women who listened to meditation or music had greater reductions in anxiety and fatigue. Those in the meditation group had much less pain during the biopsy than those in the music group, the study found.
The study was published online Feb. 4 in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.
“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 study lead author Dr. Mary Scott Soo, an 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,” she explained in a Duke news release.
Anti-anxiety drugs are one option for dealing with pain and anxiety during the procedure. But due to their sedating effects, Soo said, patients need to have someone drive them home.
Meditation and music offer simple and inexpensive alternatives to drugs, she said.
“We would like to see this study scaled up to include a multicenter trial, and see if the findings could be generalized to different practices,” Soo said.
Breastcancer.org has more about breast biopsy.