Psychosocial interventions to improve quality of life and emotional wellbeing for recently diagnosed cancer patients

School of Nursing and Midwifery, Queen's University Belfast, Medical Biology Centre, 97 Lisburn Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK, BT9 7BL.
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) (Impact Factor: 6.03). 11/2012; 11(11):CD007064. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD007064.pub2
Source: PubMed


Cancer occurs in one in four of the population with over a quarter of a million people in the UK diagnosed each year (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer). A diagnosis of cancer can be emotionally challenging. UK government policy recommends that all individuals who are diagnosed with cancer should be assessed for emotional problems and given access to appropriate psychological support services. However, the nature and content of services and their delivery is unclear. This review examines the effectiveness of individual psychosocial interventions in the first 12 months after diagnosis. The psychosocial interventions involve a 'trained helper' providing therapeutic dialogue, sometimes referred to as talking therapy, with an individual diagnosed with cancer with the aim of improving quality of life and emotional wellbeing. The review combines research data from 1249 people who took part in clinical trials to test psychosocial interventions. The results are inconclusive. No improvement in general quality of life was found, but small improvements in 'illness related' quality of life were observed. No improvements in anxiety or depression were found, but small improvements in mood were detected. Nurse-led interventions using telephone and face-to-face delivery appear to show some promise. Future research should test assessment methods designed to identify patients who may benefit from psychosocial interventions, such as patients who are at risk of emotional problems; evaluate which type of 'trained helper' is the most appropriate professional to deliver psychosocial interventions for cancer patients; and conduct economic appraisals of the cost-effectiveness of interventions.

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    • "However, this meta-analysis included nonrandomized trials. Conversely, a recent Cochrane systematic review did not find consistent evidence to support the effectiveness of psychosocial interventions for depression in cancer in general [44]. In the present systematic review, we report significant variation across trial participants, mode of delivery, discipline of 'trained therapist' and intervention content among excluded trials, which further limits the interpretation of the available literature. "
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    ABSTRACT: While women with breast cancer often face varying levels of psychological distress, there is a subgroup whose symptomatology reaches a threshold for diagnosis of major depressive disorder (MDD). Major depressive disorder is known to influence patient outcomes, such as health-related quality of life and treatment adherence. There are no systematic reviews that evaluate pharmacological and psychotherapeutic treatment trials for MDD among individuals with breast cancer. Two authors independently searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane and Clinical databases through February 20, 2013 without language restrictions. Core journals, reference lists and citation tracking were also searched. Articles on breast cancer patients were included if they (1) included participants with a diagnosis of MDD; (2) investigated pharmacological or psychotherapeutic treatments for MDD compared to placebo or usual care in a randomized controlled trial (RCT). Two RCTs on antidepressant treatment met inclusion criteria. However, no RCTs investigating the effects of psychological treatments for MDD in breast cancer were identified. Notwithstanding the paucity of data investigating the effects of psychological treatments for MDD in breast cancer, numerous psychotherapeutic strategies targeting depressive symptoms were identified. Mianserin had significant antidepressant effects when compared to placebo in a 6-week, parallel-group, RCT of Stage I-II breast cancer in women with MDD. Desipramine and paroxetine were reported to be no more efficacious than placebo in a 6-week, RCT of Stage I-IV breast cancer in women with MDD. The evidence reviewed herein underscores the paucity of data available to guide clinicians in treatment decisions for MDD in individuals with breast cancer. Therefore, the treatment of MDD in breast cancer is primarily based on clinical experience. Some antidepressants (for example, paroxetine) should be avoided in women concurrently taking tamoxifen due to relevant interactions involving the cytochrome CYP2D6.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2013 · Cancer Treatment Reviews
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    • "In many studies, the majority of the women with breast cancer reported needing increased educational support [10]. Recent meta-analysis by Cochrane review examined the effect psychoeducational intervention on QOL as a part of psychosocial support interventions for cancer patients, and the psychoeducational interventions produced small positive significant effects on QOL by the result of only one study [7]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Most breast cancer patients receive psychosocial support interventions. However, the effectiveness of these interventions has not yet been clarified. Quality of life (QOL) was an important construct that should be considered when assessing these interventions. The purpose was to evaluate the effectiveness of psychosocial and especially psychoeducational support interventions for early-stage breast cancer patients since the follow-up was bound up to 6 months after finishing the intervention. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to identify randomized controlled trials with early-stage breast cancer patients receiving psychosocial (psychoeducational and other) support in which QOL was measured as a treatment outcome. We compared mean differences at less than 6 months post-intervention with a control group. The primary outcome was Global Health Status/QOL scale (Global QOL), and secondary outcomes were the subscales of QOL. No significant effect was observed for Global QOL; however, individuals receiving psychosocial support scored higher on the Breast Cancer Symptoms subscale. For psychoeducational support in the psychosocial support, significant effect was observed on the Emotional subscale. Our analysis strengthens the evidence of the effectiveness of psychosocial support in improving breast cancer symptoms and psychoeducational support in improving emotional well-being within 6 months post-intervention.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2013 · Quality of Life Research
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    ABSTRACT: Background Faced with a life-threatening illness, such as cancer, many patients develop stress symptoms, i.e. avoidance behaviour, intrusive thoughts and worry. Stress management interventions have proven to be effective; however, they are mostly performed in group settings and it is commonly breast cancer patients who are studied. We hereby present the design of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) evaluating the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of an individual stress-management intervention with a stepped-care approach in several cancer diagnoses. Method Patients (≥ 18 years) with a recent diagnosis of breast cancer, colorectal cancer, lymphoma, prostate cancer or testicle cancer and scheduled for adjuvant/curative oncology treatment, will consecutively be included in the study. In this prospective longitudinal intervention study with a stepped-care approach, patients will be randomized to control, treatment as usual, or an individual stress-management intervention in two steps. The first step is a low-intensity stress-management intervention, given to all patients randomized to intervention. Patients who continue to report stress symptoms after the first step will thereafter be given more intensive treatment at the second step of the programme. In the intervention patients will also be motivated to be physically active. Avoidance and intrusion are the primary outcomes. According to the power analyses, 300 patients are planned to be included in the study and will be followed for two years. Other outcomes are physical activity level, sleep duration and quality recorded objectively, and anxiety, depression, quality of life, fatigue, stress in daily living, and patient satisfaction assessed using valid and standardized psychometric tested questionnaires. Utilization of hospital services will be derived from the computerized patient administration systems used by the hospital. The cost-effectiveness of the intervention will be evaluated through a cost-utility analysis. Discussion This RCT will provide empirical evidence of whether an individually administered stress-management programme in two steps can decrease stress as well as maintain or enhance patients’ physical activity level, quality of life and psychological well-being. Further, this RCT, with a stepped-care approach, will provide knowledge regarding the cost-effectiveness of an individually administered stress-management programme whose aim is to help and support individual patients at the right level of care. Trial registration Identifier: NCT 01588262.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2013 · BMC Cancer
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