Ovarian Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

Patient-Centered Website Focuses on Psychosocial Issues in Patients With Ovarian Cancer

By: Sarah Campen, PharmD
Posted: Monday, July 9, 2018

Access to a patient-centered information-based website tailored to an individual’s information-processing style appears to have a modest effect on distress levels in women with advanced-stage ovarian cancer. Melissa A. Geller, MD, MS, of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and colleagues sought to evaluate the effectiveness of Together, a website based on social cognitive theory, a framework in which individuals’ beliefs and attitudes interact with psychological distress to produce responses to health challenges, and cognitive behavior therapy. The results were published in the Journal of Psychosocial Oncology.

“Such an intervention is not a substitute for face-to-face contact but represents an innovative resource to promote cancer-related learning and reduce distress while incorporating patient preferences,” stated the researchers.

The comprehensive website addresses emotional health and cancer knowledge through distress and coping management modules, distress self-monitoring tools, and medical information. It also provides access to varying levels of health-related information depending on a patient’s cognitive coping style; for instance, “monitors” are those who seek out a plethora of information, and “blunters” tend to avoid additional information and support.

The randomized, controlled trial included women with newly diagnosed stage III/IV or recurrent ovarian cancer. A total of 35 women were randomized to either the control group (access to the usual care materials as PDF files) or the intervention group (access to the Together website based on their preferred informational level). Most of the study patients were white or non-Hispanic. The intervention group demonstrated lower distress (P = .06). Women in the intervention group also reported that their family was less likely to be upset by cancer information.

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