Hutch News

Can stress-management techniques improve immune function?

Bonnie McGregor seeks volunteers with family history of breast cancer for Health SMART study

Nov. 9, 2009
Dr. Bonnie McGregor

Dr. Bonnie McGregor is recruiting volunteers for Health SMART, a study to see how stress-reduction workshops can help women with a family history of breast cancer manage their everyday stresses and cancer-risk concerns.

Photo by Susie Fitzhugh

Are you stressed? Do you have a family history of breast cancer? If you are a woman between ages 18-60 and answered yes to both questions, the Health SMART study has tools to help you while researchers learn. All study activities will take place in the Prevention Center, which is located in the Arnold Building.

Led by Dr. Bonnie McGregor, Health SMART is a study to see how stress-reduction workshops can help women with a family history of breast cancer manage their everyday stresses and cancer-risk concerns. The goal of the study, funded by the National Cancer Institute, is to see whether various stress-management and coping techniques reduce stress and improve immune function.
 
Specifically, the study will provide women with the following:

  • Scientifically proven stress-management techniques (such as mindfulness meditation and guided imagery)
  • Coping strategies (such as anger management and assertiveness training)
  • Information on health behaviors

All workshops are conducted in a supportive group setting with other women who have a family history of breast cancer. Participants will be asked to complete questionnaires, give blood and saliva samples, and receive two hepatitis-A vaccinations. Some risks involved in participating in the study include the possibility of discomfort and a bruise at the blood draw site, the possibility of distress from discussing one’s breast cancer risk in a group setting, brief pain at the hepatitis-A vaccination injection site and, in rare cases, an allergic reaction to the vaccine. There is no charge to participate. 

All participants will receive a set of CDs with relaxation exercises, a tote bag and a workbook filled with stress-management techniques taught in the classes.

For more information about the Health SMART Study, please visit http://www.fhcrc.org/science/phs/health_smart, call the study information line at (206) 667-2448 or e-mail healthsmart@fhcrc.org.

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