J. Pers. Med.2015, 5(3), 264-279; doi:10.3390/jpm5030264 - published 28 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Background: Achieving high participation of communities representative of all sub-populations is needed in order to ensure broad applicability of biobank study findings. This study aimed to understand potentially mutable attitudes and opinions commonly correlated with biobank participation in order to inform approaches to promote participation in biobanks. Methods: Adults from two University of Maryland (UMD) Faculty Physicians, Inc. outpatient practices were invited to watch a video and complete a survey about a new biobank initiative. We used: Chi-square to assess the relationship between willingness to join the biobank and participant characteristics, other potentially mutable attitudes and opinions, and trust in the UMD. We also used t-test to assess the relationship with trust in medical research. We also prioritize proposed actions to improve attitudes and opinions about joining biobanks according to perceived responsiveness. Results: 169 participants completed the study, 51% of whom indicated a willingness to join the biobank. Willingness to join the biobank was not associated with age, gender, race, or education but was associated with respondent comfort sharing samples and clinical information, concerns related to confidentiality, potential for misuse of information, trust in UMD, and perceived health benefit. In ranked order, potential actions we surveyed that might alleviate some of these concerns include: increase chances to learn more about the biobank, increase opportunities to be updated, striving to put community concerns first, including involving community members as leaders of biobank research, and involving community members in decision making. Conclusions: This study identified several attitudes and opinions that influence decisions to join a biobank, including many concerns that could potentially be addressed by engaging community members. We also demonstrate our method of prioritizing ways to improve attitudes and opinions about joining a biobank according to perceived responsiveness.
J. Pers. Med.2015, 5(3), 243-263; doi:10.3390/jpm5030243 - published 2 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Advances in early detection and curative therapies have led to an increased number of cancer survivors over the last twenty years. With this population comes the need to evaluate the late and long term effects of cancer treatment and develop recommendations about how to optimally care for these survivors. Lifestyle factors (diet, body weight, physical activity, and smoking) have been linked to a higher risk of many medical comorbidities (cardiovascular, metabolic, etc.). There is increasing evidence linking these factors to the risk of developing cancer and likely cancer-related outcomes. This link has been studied extensively in common cancers like breast, colon, prostate, and lung cancers through observational studies and is now being prospectively evaluated in interventional studies. Realizing that survivors are highly motivated to improve their overall health after a diagnosis of cancer, healthy lifestyle recommendations from oncology providers can serve as a strong tool to motivate survivors to adopt health behavior changes. Our article aims to review the evidence that links lifestyle factors to cancer outcomes and provides clinical recommendations for cancer survivors.
J. Pers. Med.2015, 5(3), 229-242; doi:10.3390/jpm5030229 - published 26 June 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Many breast cancer survivors have coexistent chronic diseases or comorbidities at the time of their cancer diagnosis. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the association of comorbidities on breast cancer survivors’ quality of life. A prospective design was used to recruit 140 women before cancer surgery, 134 women completed the study. Comorbidities were assessed using self-report and verified by medical record review and the Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI) before and 12-month after cancer surgery. Quality of life was evaluated using Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36 v2). Descriptive statistics, chi-square tests, t-tests, Fisher’s exact test, and correlations were performed for data analysis. A total of 28 comorbidities were identified. Among the 134 patients, 73.8% had at least one of the comorbidities, 54.7% had 2–4, and only 7.4% had 5–8. Comorbidities did not change at 12 months after surgery. Numbers of comorbidities by patients’ self-report and weighted categorization of comorbidities by CCI had a similar negative correlation with overall quality of life scores as well as domains of general health, physical functioning, bodily pain, and vitality. Comorbidities, specifically hypertension, arthritis, and diabetes, were associated with poorer quality of life in multiple domains among breast cancer survivors. Future research should consider the combined influence of comorbidity and cancer on patients’ quality of life.
J. Pers. Med.2015, 5(2), 213-228; doi:10.3390/jpm5020213 - published 12 June 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The pharma ecosphere is witnessing a measured transformation from the one-size-fits-all or blockbuster model of drugs to more informed and tailored personalized treatments that facilitate higher safety and efficacy for a relevant sub-population. However, with several breakthroughs still in a nascent stage, market access becomes a crucial factor for commercial success, especially when it comes to co-creating value for pertinent stakeholders. This article highlights diverse issues from stakeholder perspectives in Europe, specifically the ones which require immediate resolution. Furthermore, the article also discusses case studies articulating potential solutions for the issues discussed.
J. Pers. Med.2015, 5(2), 191-212; doi:10.3390/jpm5020191 - published 9 June 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: There is growing evidence that inclusion of genetic information about known common susceptibility variants may enable population risk-stratification and personalized prevention for common diseases including cancer. This would require the inclusion of genetic testing as an integral part of individual risk assessment of an asymptomatic individual. Front line health professionals would be expected to interact with and assist asymptomatic individuals through the risk stratification process. In that case, additional knowledge and skills may be needed. Current guidelines and frameworks for genetic competencies of non-specialist health professionals place an emphasis on rare inherited genetic diseases. For common diseases, health professionals do use risk assessment tools but such tools currently do not assess genetic susceptibility of individuals. In this article, we compare the skills and knowledge needed by non-genetic health professionals, if risk-stratified prevention is implemented, with existing competence recommendations from the UK, USA and Europe, in order to assess the gaps in current competences. We found that health professionals would benefit from understanding the contribution of common genetic variations in disease risk, the rationale for a risk-stratified prevention pathway, and the implications of using genomic information in risk-assessment and risk management of asymptomatic individuals for common disease prevention.
J. Pers. Med.2015, 5(2), 174-190; doi:10.3390/jpm5020174 - published 28 May 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This study explored breast cancer survivors’ perspectives regarding their experiences of the survivorship continuum from diagnosis through 30 months post-treatment. The sample included women (N = 379) with newly-diagnosed breast cancer undergoing treatment at a Midwestern university-affiliated cancer center. Semi-structured interviews were conducted using the Lymphedema and Breast Cancer Questionnaire at time of diagnosis, post-operatively, quarterly during the first year, and then semi-annually thereafter through 30 months post-treatment. A mixed-methodology was used to analyze participants’ comments. Themes central to long-term survivorship experiences included social support, positive worldviews, breast cancer and lymphedema health literacy, religious/spiritual beliefs, self-empowerment, and recovery expectations. These themes were consistent with a psychoneuroimmunological model of health in which psychosocial variables mediate stress and influence health outcomes. Qualitative data showed that social support and positive worldviews were the two themes with the most significant impact on long-term breast cancer survivorship experiences. Survivors expressed a need to advance their health care literacy in order to share ownership of breast cancer and lymphedema treatment decisions. Since breast cancer is an immune-mediated disease, long-term survivorship planning should address psychosocial factors that influence the long-term psychological distress associated with immune dysfunction.