Worse Anxiety/Depression Symptoms in Patients Adopting ‘Helper’ Role in Breast Cancer Internet Support Group

“In a study reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Lepore et al found that patients assigned a helper role in a breast cancer Internet support group had worse anxiety/depression symptoms after completion of the intervention than those not assigned a helper role…

“In the study, 183 women diagnosed in the past 36 months with nonmetastatic breast cancer who reported elevated anxiety or depression were randomly assigned to a standard Internet support group condition (n = 95) or an enhanced prosocial condition (n = 88). Both conditions included professionally facilitated live 90-minute weekly chat sessions for 6 weeks and access to a discussion board…

“The investigators concluded: ‘Despite the successful manipulation of supportive behaviors, the [prosocial Internet support group] did not produce better mental health outcomes in distressed survivors of breast cancer relative to [a standard Internet support group]. The prosocial manipulation may have inadvertently constrained women from expressing their needs openly, and thus, they may not have had their needs fully met in the group.’ ”

Phone Support Groups Help Women with BRCA Mutations Cope with Stress

“In an Australian study reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, White et al found that a telephone-based peer-support intervention reduced breast cancer distress among women with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation.

“In the study, 207 mutation carriers reporting interest in talking to other mutation carriers were randomly assigned to the peer-support intervention (n = 105) or usual care (n = 102). The intervention involved trained peer volunteers’ contacting study participants six times over 4 months to provide informational, emotional, and practical support. Outcomes included breast cancer distress (measured by Impact of Event Scale), anxiousness, unmet information needs, and stress and confidence (measured by Cognitive Appraisals About Genetic Testing scale). Outcomes were assessed at the end of intervention (4 months after randomization) and 2 months later…

“The investigators concluded: ‘The intervention is effective in reducing distress and unmet information needs for this group of women. Identifying strategies for prolonging intervention effects is warranted.’ ”

Prostate Cancer Foundation and Sanofi Start Text Message Support Program for Men with Advanced Prostate Cancer

The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) has joined with pharmaceutical company Sanofi to start a text message-based support program for men in the U.S. undergoing chemotherapy for advanced prostate cancer. The program, Prost8Care, is meant to provide patients with encouragement and education during a 12-week treatment course. To learn more, and to sign up, click here.

Work-Related Stress Unlikely to Cause Prostate Cancer

Researchers at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and University College London have conducted a meta-analysis of 12 studies to determine if job strain is related to cancer risk. Their findings suggest there is no relationship between work-related stress and overall cancer risk.

In the UK, Rate of Prostate Cancer Diagnoses Increase as Deaths from the Disease Decrease

Cancer Research UK has released figures indicating that the number of prostate cancer cases diagnosed yearly have tripled over the last 20 years. In contrast, the number of deaths from the disease have decreased by 18%. Experts suggest the increase in diagnoses is due to widespread use of PSA (prostate-specific antigen) testing and the decrease in deaths is because of earlier diagnosis and improved treatments.