E-health Intervention for Cancer Survivors

2014-08-27 03:14:01 | BioPortfolio


This study will develop and examine the effectiveness of an intervention that utilizes multiple telecommunications technologies to improve cancer survivors' access to mental health care and increase their ability to manage the high risk transition time from active cancer treatment to survivorship. The intervention, referred to as Project Onward, uses an interactive website, e-mail, telephone, and an online social network. The purpose of this study is to pilot a novel intervention that can reduce costs, examine methods to improve adherence to internet based treatment and overcome numerous barriers to treatment for mental health concerns.


Nearly 65% of those with cancer diagnoses will survive for at least 5 years, with approximately 10.5 million cancer survivors in the United States. The time of transition for cancer patients, from active treatment to survivorship, has been identified as a time of high risk for depression and anxiety. Cancer survivors experience higher rates of anxiety and depression than those without a cancer history. Research has identified fear of recurrence, perceived loss of support, and social pressure to resume a "normal" life, among other phenomena, as sources for this emotional distress. However, only about 20% of all patients referred for psychotherapy ever enter treatment and of those who initiate treatment, nearly half drop out before completion. This suggests that there are significant barriers to receiving care. These barriers may be even higher for cancer survivors struggling with issues related to re-entry, such as returning to work, resuming household responsibilities and managing residual symptoms such as fatigue or pain.

The internet promises to provide inexpensive access to treatment at any time of the day or night. Unfortunately, the potential for internet delivered services has not been realized. Studies examining treatments that simply provide access to an internet site commonly result in very high dropout after the first site visit, and typically little or no improvement target symptoms. A variety of methods to improve responses to internet interventions have been examined. In general, e-mail support improves adherence and telephone support can improve adherence even more. Another type of support that has only begun to be investigated is the use of social networks to help maintain adherence.

This intervention will combine a variety of outreach methods, including telephone, email and an online social network, to increase adherence and promote the use of the website and the skills it teaches.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Control: Active Control, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Single Blind (Outcomes Assessor), Primary Purpose: Treatment




Project Onward website + social network, Project Onward website + Coach, Project Onward website


Northwestern University
United States




Northwestern University

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-08-27T03:14:01-0400

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

A website that contains conversational personal reflections, comments and sometimes links to other sites; typically run by an individual or small group.

A secure online website that provides patients convenient 24-hour access to personal health information via an Internet connection.

The thoracolumbar division of the autonomic nervous system. Sympathetic preganglionic fibers originate in neurons of the intermediolateral column of the spinal cord and project to the paravertebral and prevertebral ganglia, which in turn project to target organs. The sympathetic nervous system mediates the body's response to stressful situations, i.e., the fight or flight reactions. It often acts reciprocally to the parasympathetic system.

Nerve fibers which project from the central nervous system to autonomic ganglia. In the sympathetic division most preganglionic fibers originate with neurons in the intermediolateral column of the spinal cord, exit via ventral roots from upper thoracic through lower lumbar segments, and project to the paravertebral ganglia; there they either terminate in synapses or continue through the splanchnic nerves to the prevertebral ganglia. In the parasympathetic division the fibers originate in neurons of the brain stem and sacral spinal cord. In both divisions the principal transmitter is acetylcholine but peptide cotransmitters may also be released.

The 8th cranial nerve. The vestibulocochlear nerve has a cochlear part (COCHLEAR NERVE) which is concerned with hearing and a vestibular part (VESTIBULAR NERVE) which mediates the sense of balance and head position. The fibers of the cochlear nerve originate from neurons of the SPIRAL GANGLION and project to the cochlear nuclei (COCHLEAR NUCLEUS). The fibers of the vestibular nerve arise from neurons of Scarpa's ganglion and project to the VESTIBULAR NUCLEI.

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