Mindfulness for Blood Cancer Patients

Being diagnosed with a blood cancer is not in anyone’s life plan, so when it happens it can be a shock for you and also the people around you. It can be a scary time and your life can change quite drastically. These mindfulness podcasts have been specifically designed for people with blood cancers, in order to support with managing the uncertainty that this can often bring and to help you to better manage your physical symptoms.

These podcasts can also be used by the carers and family of people living with blood cancers. This can be an emotional and stressful time for everybody involved and it is very important that the wellbeing of the carers and family is looked after.

The mindfulness resources have been developed by AbbVie UK, with the support of the CLL Support Association, Leukaemia CARE, the Lymphoma Association and Bloodwise. 

Mindfulness is a form of meditation that is used throughout the world – bringing attention and awareness more fully to the present moment. There have been several studies showing that mindfulness can be helpful if you are living with a cancer diagnosis.1,2

Mindfulness can be done anywhere, at any time. You can practise it formally, setting time aside daily to do it on your own, or you can practise it in the midst of everyday situations - at moments that you find difficult or overwhelming. You may find these mindfulness podcasts useful:

 

  • at night, if you are having trouble sleeping
  • before difficult conversations with loved ones
  • in a waiting room before an appointment
  • awaiting test results
  • approaching or after treatment
  • in the infusion room
  • coping with the uncertainty of the ‘watch and wait’ period

Podcasts

(Job number: AXONC170560b. Date of preparation: April 2017)

Since your diagnosis of a blood cancer, you may find that your life has changed significantly. Daily routines may be altered, feelings towards yourself and your body, relationships with friends and family may have shifted and your future may feel uncertain, leaving you in a new and unfamiliar place. Mindfulness of the breath can help you to anchor your mind in the present moment, helping to give you some relief from worries about the past or anxieties about the future.

If you are experiencing shortness of breath, you can experiment with this practice and see if you find it helpful. Many people find that focusing on the breath can be very helpful when they find themselves short of breath; however, some people find that taking focus away from the breath is more helpful. If you do find this practice difficult, you could try Mindfulness of the soles of the feet or Mindfulness of the body.

You may also find this practice helpful if you are the carer or partner of somebody living with a blood cancer, to help cope with the emotional stress that this can cause.

You can return to Mindfulness of the Breath whenever you feel the need for stillness and calm. When you are ready, find a quiet space and enjoy the practice.

(Job number: AXONC170560c. Date of preparation: April 2017)

Mindfulness of the soles of the feet can help centre and ground you in any moment. It is a simple practice that can be done anytime and anywhere.

Having been diagnosed with a blood cancer, you may find yourself in many new situations where you feel anxious or overwhelmed. Equally, you might be the carer or family member of someone diagnosed with a blood cancer and are finding it hard to cope emotionally. In these moments, bringing attention and awareness to the soles of the feet can be very useful and it is a good habit to cultivate. This practice will help you to feel stronger within yourself in spite of what is happening around you.

(Job number: AXONC170560d. Date of preparation: April 2017)

Coming to terms with a diagnosis of a blood cancer can be confusing and at times overwhelming. It can be difficult for people to visualise, which may impact self-image. Mindfulness of the body is helpful to settle and calm the mind and body and can be used by both those living with a blood cancer as well as carers and loved ones. Many people find it to be both relaxing and energising.

This practice will teach you to experience the body and its sensations just as they are, helping to strengthen your mental and emotional resilience. Bringing attention and awareness to the body can also help to work with any aches and pains that you may be experiencing.Mindfulness of the body is often done lying down but can also be done standing or sitting.

1.     Hoffman, CJ, Ersser, SJ, Hopkinson, JB, Nicholls, PG, Harrington, JE & Thomas, PW. Effectiveness of mindfulness-based stress reduction in mood, breast- and endocrine-related quality of life, and well-being in stage 0 to III breast cancer: a randomized, controlled trial. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2012;30(12):1335-42.

2.     Shennan C, Payne S, Fenlon D. What is the evidence for the use of mindfulness-based interventions in cancer care? A review. Psychooncology. 2011;20(7):681-97.