Importance of Psychosocial Care
Obviously, since I have spent my whole professional life in this business, I am a big advocate for the importance of psychosocial care for oncology patients. We all know that the medical care is extremely important, but we also know (or learn along the way) that cancer impacts every part of our lives. Particularly, I am a big fan of the right support groups and know that participation helps women in many ways. I was delighted to see this article from the Journal of European Cancer Care:
Multicomponent psychosocial intervention program improves breast cancer QoL
By Catherine Nieman Sims
06 May 2009
Both quality of life (QoL) and mental adjustment in women with early-stage breast cancer are improved by a multicomponent psychosocial intervention program in a hospital setting, Spanish study results show.
As survival after breast cancer increases, psychosocial issues including QoL and mental adjustment after breast cancer become increasingly important. A number of studies have shown the use of psychosocial intervention programs as effective in different settings.
As reported in the European Journal of Cancer Care, Dimitra Manos (The Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain) and colleagues designed and implemented an intervention program that includes education, cognitive-behavioral elements, and social support in a Spanish hospital setting.
Results were analyzed in terms of QoL and mental adjustment to cancer.
A total of 188 women (age range 27-65 years) who had undergone either lumpectomy or mastectomy for non-metastatic breast cancer were included in the study. Women either took part in the program (intervention group), or acted as controls. All patients were assessed 10-15 days after surgery (baseline), after treatment, and again at a 6-month follow-up.
The program, which consisted of 14 weekly sessions with educational, cognitive-behavioral, and social support, dealt with a number of areas including preparation for chemotherapy, body image, and stress-management/coping skills.
At baseline, there were no differences in socio-demographic or medical variables between the two groups. However, the control group were more satisfied with their medical care, had fewer sexual problems, and a higher level of stoic acceptance/fatalism (a mental adjustment variable) than those in the intervention group.
QoL improved over time in the intervention group compared with controls, as women had less depression, less psychologic distress, and fewer socio-economic problems at the post-treatment assessment. At follow-up, there were continued improvements in QoL in the intervention group.
Mental adjustment was also improved by the program both immediately afterwards and at follow-up, particularly in terms of the measurements of anxious preoccupation, fighting spirit, and hopefulness/optimism.
The authors note that, although this multicomponent intervention program improves both QoL and mental adjustment to cancer in women with early-stage breast cancer, further research is needed to understand the mechanisms involved.