Breast cancer e-support program vs routine care

Zhu, J. et al. (2017) BMC Cancer. 17:291

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Background: Women with breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy suffer from a number of symptoms and report receiving inadequate support from health care professionals. Innovative and easily accessible interventions are lacking. Breast Cancer e-Support is a mobile Application program (App) that provides patients with individually tailored information and a support group of peers and health care professionals. Breast Cancer e-Support aims to promote women’s self-efficacy, social support and symptom management, thus improving their quality of life and psychological well-being.

Discussion: This is the first study of its kind in China to evaluate the use of a mobile application intervention with a rigorous research design and theoretical framework. This study will contribute to evidence regarding the effectiveness of a theory-based mobile application to support women with breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy. The results should provide a better understanding of the role of self-efficacy and social support in reducing symptom distress and of the credibility of using a theoretical framework to develop internet-based interventions. The results will provide evidence to support the implementation of an innovative and easily accessible intervention that enhances health outcomes.

Read the full protocol here

7 innovative bits of research tech our Cancer Research U are developing

Today is Innovation Day, so CRUK are taking a look at some of the cutting edge technologies that their researchers are using in their efforts to understand and treat cancer | CRUK

  • iKnife: an ‘intelligent knife’ to spot cancerous tissue during surgery
  • Blood tests to monitor and personalise treatment

  • Nanobubbles to re-oxygenate tumours
  • Gold nanoparticles
  • Infra-red endoscopes to detect cancer earlier
  • Gene editing to boost immunotherapies
  • New imaging technologies

Read the full blog post here

Computer modeling could lead to new method for detecting, managing prostate cancer

Guillermo Lorenzo et. al. Tissue-scale, personalized modeling and simulation of prostate cancer growth. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2016; 201615791 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1615791113

New research coauthored by Brigham Young University researchers may lead to a more accurate system for early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of prostate cancer.

The new study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, details a computer model that uses medical images to reproduce the growth patterns of prostate cancer on the anatomy of a patient’s prostate.

This type of mathematical modelling and simulation of disease (aka predictive medicine) can lead to personalised treatment and more accurate forecasting of clinical outcomes.

Current diagnosis methods include invasive biopsy procedures which too often lead to patients being over-treated or under-treated. Complicating matters is the fact that prostate cancer can remain undiagnosed because early stages of the disease may not produce symptoms until a tumour is either very large or has invaded other tissues.

The new system could lead to both earlier diagnosis and less invasive testing.

Full document available here

Web-based stress management for newly diagnosed cancer patients (STREAM-1)

Grossert, A. et al. BMC Cancer. Published online: 3 November 2016

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Background: Being diagnosed with cancer causes major psychological distress, yet the majority of newly diagnosed cancer patients lack psychological support. Internet interventions overcome many barriers for seeking face-to-face support and allow for independence in time and place. We assess efficacy and feasibility of the first web-based stress management intervention (STREAM: STREss-Aktiv-Mindern) for newly diagnosed, German-speaking cancer patients.

Methods/design: In a prospective, wait-list controlled trial 120 newly diagnosed cancer patients will be included within 12 weeks of starting anti-cancer treatment and randomized between an immediate (intervention group) or delayed (control group) 8-week, web-based intervention. The intervention consists of eight modules with weekly written feedback by a psychologist (“minimal-contact”) based on well-established stress management manuals including downloadable audio-files and exercises. The aim of this study is to evaluate efficacy in terms of improvement in quality of life (FACT-F), as well as decrease in anxiety and depression (HADS), as compared to patients in the wait-list control group. A sample size of 120 patients allows demonstrating a clinically relevant difference of nine points in the FACT score after the intervention (T2) with a two-sided alpha of 0.05 and 80 % power. As this is the first online stress management intervention for German-speaking cancer patients, more descriptive outcomes are equally important to further refine the group of patients with the largest potential for benefit who then will be targeted more specifically in future trials. These descriptive endpoints include: patients’ characteristics (type of cancer, type of treatment, socio-demographic factors), dropout rate and dropout reasons, adherence and satisfaction with the program.

Discussion: New technologies open new opportunities: minimal-contact psychological interventions are becoming standard of care in several psychological disorders, where their efficacy is often comparable to face-to-face interventions. With our study we open this field to the population of newly diagnosed cancer patients. We will not only assess clinical efficacy but also further refine the target population who has the most potential to benefit. An internet-based minimal-contact stress management program might be an attractive, time- and cost-effective way to effectively deliver psychological support to newly diagnosed cancer patients and an opportunity to include those who currently are not reached by conventional support.

Read the full article here

Use of Online Communication by Patients With Newly Diagnosed Breast Cancer During the Treatment Decision Process

Wallner, L. P. et al. JAMA Oncology. Published online July 28 2016

social-media-1430531_960_720Online communication (including email, social media, and web-based support groups) could be used to enhance cancer treatment decision making and care support. Yet, little is known about whether and how patients with newly diagnosed cancer use these technologies during the treatment decision process and even less is known about whether online communication use influences patient appraisals of decision making. Therefore, we characterized online communication use in a diverse, population-based sample of women with a new diagnosis of breast cancer and assessed whether the use of these modalities resulted in increased satisfaction and decision deliberation during the breast cancer treatment decision process.

Read the full article here

 

Big Data can save lives, says cancer expert

ScienceDaily. Published online: 17 May 2016

The sharing of genetic information from millions of cancer patients around the world could be key to revolutionising cancer prevention and care, according to a leading cancer expert from Queen’s University Belfast.

Professor Mark Lawler, from Queen’s University’s Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology is corresponding author of a paper published today in the journal Nature Medicine. The paper highlights the potential of ‘big data’ to unlock the secrets inside cancer cells and enable the development of more effective personalised treatments.

Professor Lawler is also Co-Chair of the Cancer Task Team of the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH), which was established in 2013 to create a common framework for the responsible, voluntary and secure sharing of patients’ clinical and genomic data.

GA4GH is a partnership between scientists, clinicians, patients and the IT and Life Sciences industry involving more than 400 organisations in over 40 countries, and has published today’s paper as a blueprint to enable the sharing of patient data to improve patient outcomes.

Read the full commentary here

Read the original research abstract here

Human papillomavirus detection in a “Digital” age

Justin A. Bishop and Patrick K. Ha. Cancer.  Published online: 17 March 2016

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Image source: Wellcome Images // CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 

Image shows a high power view of squamous mucosa of the cervix, with mild abnormalities related to human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.

It is increasingly important to identify the presence of human papillomavirus (HPV) in patients with oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma, because HPV status is now useful for clinical trial stratification, prognostic determination, diagnosis in patients with neck masses, and identification of the primary tumor site. Therefore, it is important that the technique used for identification be feasible, accurate, reproducible, and cost effective. The authors summarize these aspects of HPV detection and the use of newer digital polymerase chain reaction technology for this purpose.

Read the abstract here