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Support activities benefit patients during the year following cancer diagnosis

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Support and education activities have been shown to benefit patients during the year following breast cancer diagnosis.

"To find the most effective methods of providing social support for women diagnosed with breast cancer," investigators from the United States" tested the effectiveness of a telephone social support and education intervention to promote emotional and interpersonal adaptation to breast cancer."

"The study design was a "multi-site, two-group experimental study with repeated measures," E. A. Coleman and colleagues reported. The Arkansas sample consisted of 106 women who entered the study 2 to 4 weeks postsurgery for nonmetastatic breast cancer and were randomly assigned to an experimental or control group. The comparison group consisted of 91 women from New Jersey who had participated in a previously completed study that used the same interventions and found that telephone support resulted in more positive, statistically significant adaptation to the disease."

"The experimental group received 13 months of telephone social support and education," wrote the authors. "Both groups received educational materials via a mailed resource kit. The Profile of Mood States; Visual Analogue Scale-Worry; Relationship Change Scale; University of California, Los Angeles, Loneliness Scale-Version 3; and the modified Symptom Distress Scale provided data regarding the variables of interest. Data analysis included descriptive statistics, t tests, and multivariate analysis of variance with repeated measures."

The main research variables were "mood, worry, relationships with significant others, loneliness, and symptoms." The researchers found that the "data analysis showed no significant differences between groups, and both improved on some of the outcomes. Significant time-by-location interaction effects were found when comparing the Arkansas and New Jersey samples, thereby supporting the need to consider regional differences when developing interventions. The mailed educational resource kit alone appeared to be as effective as the telephone social support provided by oncology nurses in conjunction with the mailed resource kit," wrote E.A. Coleman and colleagues, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

The researchers concluded, "Mailed educational resource kits may be the most efficient and cost-effective way to provide educational support to newly diagnosed patients with breast cancer, but their effect may differ according to region."

Coleman and colleagues published their study in Oncology Nursing Forum (The effect of telephone social support and education on adaptation to breast cancer during the year following diagnosis. Oncol Nurs Forum, 2005;32(4):822-829).

For additional information, contact E.A. Coleman, University of Arkansas College of Nursing, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA, E-mail:

The publisher of the journal Oncology Nursing Forum can be contacted at: Oncology Nursing Society, 125 Enterprise Dr., Pittsburgh, PA 15275, USA.

Keywords: Little Rock, Arkansas, United States, Breast Cancer, Breast Carcinoma, Breast Cancer Diagnosis, Cancer Education, Cancer Support Activities, Women's Health. This article was prepared by Biotech Law Weekly editors from staff and other reports. Copyright 2005, Biotech Law Weekly via

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