Young adult cancer survivors struggle to get back to normal

Cancer survivors often talk about wanting to get back to normal, but a new study indicates many young adults who survived the disease struggle with attaining this goal two years after their initial diagnosis |ScienceDaily

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Researchers collected data from 215 cancer patients aged 14 to 39 years who visited five medical facilities nationwide between March 2008 and April 2010. Patients completed a self-report measure of social functioning within the first four months of diagnosis, and again at 12 months and 24 months later. They also answered questions about their social interactions with family and friends, psychological needs and mental health.

Thirty-two percent of the survivors reported consistently low social functioning over time — and some had been off treatment. Zebrack and colleagues say this could stem from the transition from treatment to off-treatment survivorship, a time fraught with new challenges to a cancer survivor, including the negative impact on finances, body image, work plans, relationship with spouse/significant other and plans for having children.

In addition, those reporting low scores on social functioning also had high levels of distress, possibly reflecting an impaired ability to reintegrate into social activities due to the effects of cancer, the study showed.

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

Return to work of cancer patients

To support return to work (RTW) among cancer patients, a multidisciplinary rehabilitation programme was developed which combined occupational counselling with a supervised physical exercise programme during chemotherapy | BMJ Open

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Objectives: The aim was to investigate RTW rates of cancer patients and to evaluate changes in work-related quality of life and physical outcomes.

Conclusions: RTW rates of cancer patients were high after completion of the multidisciplinary rehabilitation programme. A multidisciplinary rehabilitation programme which combines occupational counselling with a supervised physical exercise programme is likely to result in RTW, reduced fatigue and increased importance of work, work ability, and quality of life.

Full reference: Leensen, M.C.J. et al. (2017) Return to work of cancer patients after a multidisciplinary intervention including occupational counselling and physical exercise in cancer patients: a prospective study in the Netherlands. BMJ Open 7:e014746.

Cancer as a stressful life event: Perceptions of children with cancer and their peers

Howard Sharp, K.M. Cancer. Published online: 4 May 2017

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Background: The medical traumatic stress model is commonly applied to childhood cancer, assuming that the diagnosis of cancer is a traumatic event. However, to the authors’ knowledge, little is known regarding what specifically children perceive as stressful about cancer or how it compares with other stressful events more often experienced by children.

 

Conclusions: Children do not necessarily view their cancer experience as their most stressful life event. The findings of the current study suggest that the diagnosis of cancer might be better viewed as a manageable stressor rather than a major trauma, and are consistent with the change in the fifth edition of the DSM to eliminate the diagnosis of a life-threatening illness as a qualifying trauma for PTSD.

Read the full abstract here

Issues of Survivorship and Rehabilitation in Soft Tissue Sarcoma

Gerrand, C. & Furtado, S. Clinical Oncology | Published online: 22 April 2017

As the number of survivors of extremity soft tissue sarcoma increases, so does the need to understand the experience of survivors and develop measures, systems and services that support rehabilitation into normal life roles.

Survivorship includes considerations of the physical, psychological and social domains, of which the physical sequelae of treatment are the best characterised in the literature. The survivorship experience may include disability, pain, lymphoedema, psychological problems, as well as difficulty with employment, relationships and lower quality of life.

Rehabilitation strategies for extremity sarcoma patients must be personalised, holistic and begin early in the pathway, ideally before the first treatment intervention.The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health model is a useful framework for combining assessments, including objective outcome measures, which can be combined into a rehabilitation prescription. Research is needed to develop an evidence base for rehabilitation interventions to support patients with extremity soft tissue sarcoma.

Read the full abstract here

Grilled, Barbecued, and Smoked Meat Intake and Survival Following Breast Cancer

Parada, H. et al. (2017) JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 109(6)

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Background: Grilled, barbecued, and smoked meat intake, a prevalent dietary source of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) carcinogens, may increase the risk of incident breast cancer. However, no studies have examined whether intake of this PAH source influences survival after breast cancer.

Conclusion: High intake of grilled/barbecued and smoked meat may increase mortality after breast cancer.

Read the full article here

Cognitive Complaints in Survivors of Breast Cancer After Chemotherapy Compared With Age-Matched Controls

Janelsins, M.C. et al. Journal of Clinical Oncology. Published online: December 28 2016

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Purpose: Cancer-related cognitive impairment is an important problem for patients with breast cancer, yet its trajectory is not fully understood. Some previous cancer-related cognitive impairment research is limited by heterogeneous populations, small samples, lack of prechemotherapy and longitudinal assessments, use of normative data, and lack of generalizability. We addressed these limitations in a large prospective, longitudinal, nationwide study.

Conclusion: Patients with breast cancer who were treated in community oncology clinics report substantially more cognitive difficulties up to 6 months after treatment with chemotherapy than do age-matched noncancer controls.

Read the full abstract here