Center seeks volunteers for online cancer study
The Cancer Research Center of Hawaii is looking for 15 newly diagnosed cancer patients to volunteer for a meditation study offered on the Internet.
Anyone interested in taking part in the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii project should call 808-564-5832 or e-mail Gabriela@crch.hawaii.edu.
The project involves practicing a "mindfulness" type of meditation that allows people to relax and focus on the moment, said researcher Thanh Huynh.
"It doesn't involve any drugs or anything. People could benefit from this without any risk involved."
He said mindfulness meditation has been shown to improve quality of life and immune function in cancer patients when used in a classroom format but has never been done on the Internet.
He is conducting the pilot project in preparation for a national study to learn if a Web-based program would be practical and provide the same benefits.
The Hawaii cancer center is part of the Southwest Oncology Group, a national cancer research group based in San Antonio, and it participates in many of the group's projects in treating cancer, he said.
"We wish to have more people aware not just of the study, but of the mindfulness practice," Huynh said. "Many people don't even know what it is, and it is beneficial."
He said mindfulness can be practiced as formal meditation, sitting or walking, or informally throughout the day.
Rather than getting lost in the past or future, he said mindfulness meditation helps patients "to be present with the here and now, to be open to it without pushing away what's unpleasant and comparing and judging."
The program will be offered entirely on the Internet with calming, soothing images presented online to help patients with therapy.
Participants must have access to the Web at least once a week but are encouraged to stick to the program every day for six weeks, Huynh said.
Some audio instructions are recorded on a disc to save volunteers time from downloading, he said.
Huynh said the study has begun with the first two participants.
Coordinator Gabriela Layi meets with the volunteers at the Cancer Research Center to explain the logistics. She also asks questions to compare quality-of-life data before and after the course.