April 14, 2009

Managing stress helps surgery patients

Stress management sessions help patients before and after surgery, U.S. researchers say.

The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, finds men opting for radical prostatectomy -- removing the prostate -- experienced long-term benefits from brief behavioral interventions before and after surgery.

For the randomized study, 159 early-stage prostate cancer, radical prostatectomy patients were assigned to receive either stress management intervention, individual supportive attention or standard care.

Senior author Lorenzo Cohen of The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston says men in the stress management group were taught simple behavioral techniques such as relaxing guided imagery -- periods of total relaxation. Sessions for those in the supportive attention groups were more general, and centered around discussions.

The researchers finds that men in the stress management group had the lowest levels of mood disturbance followed by those in the supportive attention group and standard care patients having the highest level. The difference between the stress management and standard care groups was statistically significant, the researchers say.