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Cancer. 2016 Aug 1;122(15):2408-17. doi: 10.1002/cncr.30036. Epub 2016 May 19.

Peer-counseling for women newly diagnosed with breast cancer: A randomized community/research collaboration trial.

Author information

1
Psychosocial Oncology Division, Department of Oncology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
2
Psychosocial Resources, Tom Baker Cancer Centre, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
3
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California.
4
WomenCARE, Santa Cruz, California.
5
Martinez Outpatient Clinic and Community Living Center, VA Northern California Health Care System, Martinez, California.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

We conducted a randomized controlled trial of peer-counseling for newly diagnosed breast cancer (BC) patients as a community/research collaboration testing an intervention developed jointly by a community-based-organization serving women with cancer and university researchers.

METHODS:

We recruited 104 women newly diagnosed with BC at any disease stage. Prior to randomization, all received a one-time visit with an oncology nurse who offered information and resources. Afterwards, we randomized half to receive a match with a Navigator with whom they could have contact for up to 6 months. We recruited, trained, and supervised 30 peer counselors who became "Navigators." They were at least one-year post-diagnosis with BC. Controls received no further intervention. We tested the effect of intervention on breast-cancer-specific well-being and trauma symptoms as primary outcomes, and several secondary outcomes. In exploratory analyses, we tested whether responding to their diagnosis as a traumatic stressor moderated outcomes.

RESULTS:

We found that, compared with the control group, receiving a peer-counseling intervention significantly improved breast-cancer-specific well-being (p=0.01, Cohen's d=0.41) and maintained marital adjustment (p=0.01, Cohen's d=0.45) more effectively. Experiencing the diagnosis as a traumatic stressor moderated outcomes: those with a peer counselor in the traumatic stressor group improved significantly more than controls on well-being, trauma and depression symptoms, and cancer self-efficacy.

CONCLUSIONS:

Having a peer counselor trained and supervised to recognize and work with trauma symptoms can improve well-being and psychosocial morbidity during the first year following diagnosis of BC. Cancer 2016;122:2408-2417. © 2016 American Cancer Society.

KEYWORDS:

breast neoplasms; counseling; patient-navigation; posttraumatic stress; quality of life

PMID:
27198057
DOI:
10.1002/cncr.30036
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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