For women with early-stage breast cancer, cognitive-behavioral stress management (CBSM) delivered after surgery is associated with long-term psychological benefits, according to a study published online in Cancer.

Noting that group-based CBSM delivered after surgery for early-stage breast cancer correlated with improved quality of life (QOL) over a 12-month follow-up and fewer depressive symptoms over five years, Jamie M. Stagl, from Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues conducted an eight- to 15-year follow-up.

Women with stage 0 to IIIb breast cancer were recruited after breast surgery and randomized to 10 weeks of CBSM or a one-day psychoeducational control. One hundred women (51 CBSM patients and 49 controls) were contacted again at eight to 15 years after study enrollment.

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The researchers found that after adjustment for covariates, participants in the CBSM group reported significantly lower depressive symptoms (d, 0.63) and better QOL (d, 0.58).

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“Women who received CBSM after surgery for early-stage breast cancer reported lower depressive symptoms and better QOL than the control group up to 15 years later,” the authors write.

“Early implementation of cognitive-behavioral interventions may influence long-term psychosocial functioning in breast cancer survivors.”

One author disclosed receiving royalties from a book and related training material he had authored on CBSM treatments in health psychology.


  1. Stagl, Jamie M., MS, et al. “Long-term psychological benefits of cognitive-behavioral stress management for women with breast cancer: 11-year follow-up of a randomized controlled trial.” Cancer. DOI: 10.1002/cncr.29076. [epub ahead of print]. March 23, 2015.