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Meditation Eases Breast Biopsy Anxiety And Pain

Guided meditation can help women undergoing breast biopsies experience less anxiety and pain. In addition, researchers from the Duke Cancer Institute report that providing meditation can improve the effectiveness of the biopsy procedure, which can be compromised if women move during the procedure. The researchers enrolled 121 women scheduled for a stereotactic and ultrasound guided (needle) breast biopsy and randomly assigned them to a recorded meditation, music or the usual care with a technologist offering support. The meditation, described as a guided “loving/kindness” script, focused on building positive emotions and releasing negative ones. Patients assigned to listen to music could choose from several types available. Before and after the biopsy the women completed questionnaires measuring their nervousness and anxiety and ranking their pain on a scale of zero (low) to 10 (high). “Both meditation and music reduced patient anxiety and fatigue," said study leader Mary Scott Soo, M.D. in a press release accompanying publication of the study. However, the women in the meditation group reported significantly less pain than those in the music group.