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Supportive expressive group therapy did not prolong survival in metastatic breast cancer

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QUESTION: In women with metastatic breast cancer, does supportive expressive group therapy (SEGT) prolong survival, improve mood, and reduce pain?


Randomised {allocation concealed}*, blinded (assessors of psychosocial outcomes), controlled trial with 12 months of follow up.


7 cancer centres in Canada.


235 women (mean age 50 y) who had histological confirmation of breast cancer and had metastases outside of the breast and ipsilateral axilla. Exclusion criteria were central nervous system metastases; active psychosis, untreated major depression, or severe character disorder; planned participation in a therapist led support group for metastatic breast cancer outside of the study centre; residence >1 hour travel from the study centre; life expectancy <3 months; or inability to speak and read English. Follow up was complete for survival; follow up for psychosocial outcomes was 65% to 71%.


Women were …

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  • Sources of funding: Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Canadian Breast Cancer Research Initiative.

  • For correspondence: Dr P J Goodwin, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. pgoodwin{at}