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Interesting news on breast cancer reported by Reuters and CNN.

Praying online in a support group may help women with breast cancer cope with the disease more effectively, a new study shows.

Dr. Bret Shaw of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his colleagues observed that patients with breast cancer who used a higher percentage of religion-related words in their communications with an Internet support group had lower levels of negative emotions, better functional well-being, and more confidence in their ability to deal with their illness.

“Patients with breast cancer who want to pray can use online support groups as a place to cope with their illness with other people going through similar situations,” Shaw told Reuters. “Our data suggest that this might make you feel better”.

Shaw decided to launch the study after observing how common it was for people to use prayer in online support groups. “We noticed a lot of people were exchanging prayers on line, praying for themselves and other group participants,” he said.

However, he added that “some women were so kind of turned off by the overly religious tone of the groups that they did not want to participate”.

To investigate the health, social and emotional effects of online prayer for women with breast cancer, Shaw and his team loaned a group of women computers associated with the Web. They also provided training on computer and Internet use. The women were surveyed at the study’s outset and again after four months of support group participation.

Among the 97 women who posted more than twice to the group, those who used a higher percentage of religion-related words (such as bless, faith, heaven and pray) showed lower levels of negative emotions, better functional well-being, and greater health-related self-efficacy, meaning they had more confidence in their ability to cope with their illness.

But there was no association between the use of religion-related words and women’s levels of breast cancer-related concerns, emotional well being, social support, or positive reframing, a coping strategy that involves looking at a challenge in a more positive light.

4 Responses to “”

  1. Heather says:

    I did want to tell you that I also found this article on MSN today about IBC. You may want to read it, it looks like they might be opening a clinic specifically for IBC in TX in late October.
    Hope you feel better

  2. alaina says:

    Andrea,

    Are you feeling better today and why did you feel so ill? When you get your surgery dates for sure, please tell me. I love your pictures and your children are beautiful and so full of life and love, I can see that. Love and blessings, alaina

  3. melanie says:

    Someone sent me this link: http://speakingoffaith.publicradio.org/index.shtml

    It’s a website for a radio show called Speaking of Faith. You can download podcasts and mp3’s of past aired shows which I have found really interesting. There is one I recommend called “Heart and Soul: The Integrative Medicine of Dr. Mehmet Oz” It talks with a cardiac surgeon who uses an integrative medicine approach with his patients. It’s very interesting and mentions scientific studies done on the power of prayer to help patients heal. I’m happy to have found this site as sometimes I’m too out of it to read or watch TV, but I can easily sit and listen to something, especially when it’s uplifting and informative. I hope you find it helpful 🙂

  4. Lauren says:

    Andrea,

    I came across your blog today because I was googling my sister’s name: Andi Collins. Last week was the 4 year anniversary of her death. I saw that you referenced her story in a post and I cannot believe the coincidence. I hope you are feeling well and giving IBC a good fight! Thank you for posting so much information on this strange form of cancer. There is so little information out there!

    I will be thinking about you…

    Lauren Collins