Diagnosing cancer can be a very anxious experience, and anxiety can disrupt immune system function. Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFα) is an inflammatory cytokine that is associated with amplified tumor cell proliferation, higher malignancy, increased metastasis, and poor general prognosis for the patients who suffer from breast cancer.
This study is a randomized clinical trial with follow-up and control group. The experimental group underwent meaning-based existential intervention. Both groups were assessed by Beck Anxiety Questionnaire and serum levels of tumor necrosis factor before, after and three months after the intervention, and data were analyzed by repeated measures analysis of variance.
The experimental group showed a decrease in anxiety scores and serum TNFα levels after receiving a psychotherapy program/interventions compared to the control group. The results show that the mean of TNFα was 47.10± 1.22 and the mean of anxiety was 21.75± 9.30 in the experimental group, while the mean of TNFα was 50.75± 1.71 and the mean of anxiety was 44.7± 12.27 in the control group, this reduction has also been observed in the follow-up phase (0.001≥ p).
Based on the findings, meaning-based existential psychotherapy can reduce anxiety and serum TNFα levels by reducing patients' anxiety and helping to give meaning to life again. Accordingly, this treatment can be used along with medical treatments.
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