Here are highlights from the Cancer Control Program:
- Resilience During Transplant in Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer
- The Impact of Internet Information on Patients and Oncologists
Stem cell transplant (SCT) is a particularly intense and stressful time for adolescents and young adults (AYA) with cancer. SCT is a life-threatening procedure that often represents the best, and sometimes the only option, for cure of their disease. SCT is generally accompanied by mild to severe complications which can interfere with either short-term or long-term quality of life.
Joan Haase, Ph.D., Emily Holmquist Professor for Pediatric Oncology Nursing and Cancer Control and Prevention research scientist, is currently conducting collaborative research with IU Simon Cancer Center research members Debra Burns, Ph.D., board-certified music therapist, Paul Haut, M.D., Director of Pediatric Stem Cell Transplantation, and Rafat Abanour, M.D., Director of Adult Stem Cell Transplantation. The study compares the efficacy of a therapeutic music video (TMV) intervention with a books-on-tape intervention. Both are aimed to increase the resilience of AYA during SCT.
Dr. Haase defines resilience as the process of identifying resources to manage cancer stressors in order to gain a sense of confidence, mastery and self-esteem. Much of Dr. Haase’s research builds interventions that encourage and support resilience and quality of life in AYA with cancer.
The current project involves two groups. In one group, the AYA selects audio-recorded books to listen to and discusses the books with a trained intervener. In the other group, the AYA selects music, writes and records lyrics and matches pictures to the lyrics to develop a video that is shown to family and friends before discharge from the hospital after undergoing SCT.
The six participating institutions of this study include Riley Children’s Hospital and Indiana University Hospital (Indianapolis, IN), Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics (Kansas City, MO), Mott Children’s Hospital (Ann Arbor, MI), Texas Transplant Institute (San Antonio, TX), St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Barnes-Jewish Hospital (St. Louis, MO), Children’s Memorial Hospital (Chicago, IL).
Americans are rapidly increasing their use of the Internet to obtain health information. However, unfiltered Internet information has the potential both to harm and to benefit patients and their encounters with their oncologists. Paul Helft, M.D., Cancer Control and Prevention research member, is conducting a three-phase project to study the “Impact of Internet Information on Patients and Oncologists.” Helft hopes to gain an understanding of the specific positive and negative effects of Internet information on cancer patients, their decision-making, and the clinical encounter between cancer patients and their oncologists.
Results from the first of three separate studies to be completed were published in February 2006 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Dr. Helft is first author of the article, “Use of the Internet to Obtain Cancer Information among Cancer Patients at an Urban County Hospital.”
Two hundred patients completed an interview examining Internet use, perceptions of the accuracy of Internet information, and barriers to use. Very few (10%) cancer patients in this study of generally disadvantaged individuals used the Internet themselves to obtain cancer information, although many more (44%) desired to do so if they had Internet access. Younger age and more years of formal education were significantly associated with Internet use, although race and income were not. Less education, African American race, and female sex were associated with lower estimates of the accuracy of Internet information. Fewer years of formal education was associated with increased likelihood of reporting confusion after reading Internet information.
Significant opportunities for Web-based interventions aimed at improving cancer care outcomes in this population of cancer patients exist. However, further study will be needed to determine how to make such intervention accessible, trustworthy, and understandable to the disadvantaged.
Dr. Helft’s project is funded by a five-year American Cancer Society Mentored Research Scholar Award. The main collaborators are co-sponsors Victoria Champion, D.N.S. (distinguished professor of nursing, leader of the Cancer Prevention and Control Program) and William Tierney, M.D. (professor of medicine, Director of General Internal Medicine), and co-mentors Richard Frankel, Ph.D. (professor of medicine) and Thomas Inui, M.D. (professor of medicine, Associate Dean for Health Care Research.