Finding My Way: Preliminary findings from a RCT evaluating an internet self-help program for cancer-related distress — ASN Events

Finding My Way: Preliminary findings from a RCT evaluating an internet self-help program for cancer-related distress (#90)

Lisa Beatty 1 2 , Emma Kemp 1 , Tracey Wade 1 , Paul Katris 3 , Jane Turner 4 , Patsy Yates 5 , Desmond Yip 6 7 , Addie Wootten 8 9 10 , Sylvie Lambert 11 , Phyllis Butow 12 , Bogda Koczwara 2 13
  1. College of Medicine and Public Health, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
  2. Medical Oncology, Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer, Flinders Medical Centre, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
  3. Western Australian Clinical Oncology Group, West Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  4. School of Medicine, University of Queensland, Herston, Queensland, Australia
  5. School of Nursing, Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove, Queensland, Australia
  6. Medical School, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia
  7. Medical Oncology, The Canberra Hospital, Canberra, ACT, Australia
  8. Australian Prostate Cancer Research, Richmond, Victoria, Australia
  9. Department of Urology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkeville, Victoria, Australia
  10. Epworth Prostate Cancer Centre, Epworth Healthcare, Richmond, Victoria, Australia
  11. Ingram School of Nursing, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  12. School of Psychology, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  13. School of Medicine, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Background: Online self-help holds promise for overcoming access barriers to conventional therapist-administered psychosocial interventions. Our group has previously reported on a single-site RCT of a web-based program for cancer patients which suggested immediate and enduring reductions in distress for intervention participants.  This presentation reports on preliminary data from an ongoing national multi-site RCT of a 6-module internet Cognitive Behaviour Therapy-based support program (‘Finding My Way’), in reducing patient distress.  

Methods:  Cancer patients treated with curative intent (target n=188) are randomised to receive either (a) the 6-module Finding My Way intervention or (b) an internet attention-control. Outcome measures of distress (cancer-specific and general), coping, and health-related quality of life are administered at baseline, post-treatment, then 3- and 6-months later, with opportunities for feedback available after accessing each module.   

Results: As of June 2014, out of 133 approached eligible patients, 59 (44%) had enrolled and 47 (35%) had declined, with the remainder still to complete enrolment.  Most common reasons for declining participation included the patient coping well enough (19%) or not being interested (19%).  Enrolled participants (mean age 53.75 years) were mainly women (92%) with breast cancer (78%), married (75%), and employed (61%), with various educational levels. Of the 40 participants who had received all modules, 45% had accessed all 6 with a further 25% accessing 5 out of 6 modules.  Across modules, information was rated as at least somewhat helpful by 88-100% of intervention participants and 95-100% of attention controls, while worksheets were rated as at least somewhat helpful by 75-100% of intervention participants.  Updated results will be presented and challenges of multi-site recruitment to an online intervention across cancer types will be discussed.

Conclusion: Preliminary data suggest satisfaction with the web-based content; however, interim data suggest uptake of the program is somewhat limited and polarised toward female participants.