Cancer app developed by GPs being trialled by CCGs

A GP-developed app aiming to help GPs navigate the tests and urgent referrals necessary for patients presenting with cancer symptoms is being trialled by two CCGs | Pulse

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C the Signs was co-founded by newly qualified GP Dr Bhavagaya Bakshi and fellow doctor Miles Payling and quickly checks symptoms of more than 200 cancers against multiple diagnostic referral pathways.

Last week the app won the People’s award at the Tech4Good awards and is now set to be trialled with GPs in the East of England to test its real world cost and clinical effectiveness.

Read the full news story here

Computer-tailored physical activity intervention for prostate and colorectal cancer patients and survivors

Cancer and cancer treatment coincide with substantial negative physical, psychological and psychosocial problems | BMC Cancer

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Background: Physical activity (PA) can positively affect the negative effects of cancer and cancer treatment and thereby increase quality of life in CPS. Nevertheless, only a minority of CPS meet PA guidelines. We developed the OncoActive (OncoActief in Dutch) intervention: a computer-tailored PA program to stimulate PA in prostate and colorectal CPS, because to our knowledge there are only a few PA interventions for these specific cancer types in the Netherlands

Discussion: Using the Intervention Mapping protocol resulted in a systematically adapted, theory and evidence-based intervention providing tailored PA advice to prostate and colorectal CPS. If the intervention turns out to be effective in increasing PA, as evaluated in a RCT, possibilities for nationwide implementation and extension to other cancer types will be explored.

Full reference: Golsteijn, R.H.J. et al. (2017) Development of a computer-tailored physical activity intervention for prostate and colorectal cancer patients and survivors: OncoActive. BMC Cancer. 17:446

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