a stressed person

Stress Management in Cancer

An interactive cognitive behavioral coping and stress management intervention

Project period

2015–2020

Funding

The Norwegian Cancer Society (Kreftforeningen #4602492) and Oslo University Hospital

Summary

A cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment can be disruptive and traumatic, often accompanied by a multitude of stressors for the patients. Uncertainty of outcome and invasive medical procedures with aversive side effects are not uncommon, and while people differ widely in how they experience and cope with such challenges, cancer related distress including anxiety, depression, worry and rumination is prevalent. Psychosocial interventions in cancer can facilitate psychological adaptation to cancer, including reducing distress, anxiety, negative affect and depression, as well as improving quality of life.

In this study, we have combined well-established stress management interventions for cancer patients with cutting edge computerized technology at the Center for Shared Decision Making and Collaborative Care Research at Oslo University Hospital, creating an innovative app-based cognitive behavioral stress management intervention for cancer patients in Norway.

In phase I (2015/2017), the intervention was developed, tailored and piloted by specialists in psychosocial oncology, stress management and eHealth, in close collaboration with patients with cancer and related health care personnel. This phase resulted in the StressProffen™© stress management in cancer program.

In phase II (2017/2020), the effect of the StressProffen™© intervention is being tested with repeated measures in a randomized controlled trial (RCT), examining impact on stress, distress, quality of life, self-regulation, coping, and health behaviors. Participants are cancer patients (N=180) in Norway diagnosed with different cancer types and randomized to either the intervention or to standard care.

Participants in the intervention group have received a face-to-face introductory group session before downloading and proceeding with the StressProffen™© app which contains 10 modules centering around stress management and quality of life. If effective, the StressProffen™© program has the potential to generally enhance well-being, self-management and sense of self-control for patients living with cancer. The intervention can provide extensive outreach, improved flexibility and high accessibility for a diverse group of cancer patients in more cost-effective ways, potentially also reducing burden on the health care system. 

Collaborators

  • Matthew M. Clark, PhD

    Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA

  • Shawna L. Ehlers, PhD

    Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA

  • Michael Andrykowski, PhD

    University of Kentucky, KY, USA