Cognitive-existential intervention to address fear of cancer recurrence in women with cancer

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Core Research Area
Bio-psychosocial Research
Principal Investigator
Christine Maheu & Sophie Lebel
Catton, P., Fung Kee Fung, M.P., Jolicoeur, L., Lefebvre, M., Courbasson, C., Secord, S., & Rosberger, Z.
The purposes of this study are to develop, describe, standardize and conduct preliminary testing of a cognitive-existential group intervention that addresses the fear of cancer recurrence in women with breast cancer. A single group pilot study will be used to recruit a minimum of 36 women (6 groups of 6-8) with breast or gynecological cancer diagnosis. The intervention will be examined for its impact on a) fear of cancer recurrence, b) psychological/social functioning, and c) quality of life. Women with gynecological cancer are recruited at Ottawa Hospital. Breast cancer participants are currently recruited from Princess Margaret Hospital and will be recruited from Mount Sinai Hospital upon REB approval. The women are assessed for eligibility by having elevated levels of fear of cancer recurrence and cancer-intrusive thoughts. The women who agree to participate in the study will each attend an individual pre-intervention to inform them about therapy and discuss their expectations. The intervention consists of 6 weekly, 90 minute sessions. Measurements are performed at baseline and post-intervention within one week of the end of the group. Follow-up measures are also repeated at three months to assess sustaining effects of the intervention on the main outcomes of the study. An exit interview will be conducted with some of the participants to supplement the quantitative results and to generate suggestions on how to improve the groups for the next research phase. Study intervention includes exploring the affect of being fearful of cancer recurrence, learning cognitive reframing skills, and relaxation techniques.

Study Contact
Christine Maheu 416-581-8631