J. Pers. Med.2015, 5(3), 311-325; doi:10.3390/jpm5030311 - published 25 August 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The potential impact of breast cancer-related lymphedema (LE) is quite extensive, yet it often remains under-diagnosed until the later stages. This project examines the effectiveness of prospective surveillance in post-surgical breast cancer patients. A retrospective analysis of 49 out of 100 patients enrolled in a longitudinal prospective study at a Midwestern breast center evaluates: (1) time required for completion of bilateral limb measurements and Lymphedema Breast Cancer Questionnaire (LBCQ); (2) referral to LE management with limb volume increase (LVI) and/or LBCQ symptoms; and (3) cost of LE management at lower LVI (≥5%–≤10%) versus traditional (≥10%). Findings revealed a visit timeframe mean of 40.3 min (range = 25–60); 43.6% of visits were ≤30-min timeframe. Visit and measurement times decreased as clinic staff gained measurement experience; measurement time mean was 17.9 min (range = 16.9–18.9). LBCQ symptoms and LVI were significantly (p < 0.001) correlated to LE referral; six of the nine patients referred (67%) displayed both LBCQ symptoms/LVI. Visits with no symptoms reported did not result in referral, demonstrating the importance of using both indicators when assessing early LE. Lower threshold referral provides compelling evidence of potential cost savings over traditional threshold referral with reported costs of: $3755.00 and $6353.00, respectively (40.9% savings).
J. Pers. Med.2015, 5(3), 296-310; doi:10.3390/jpm5030296 - published 6 August 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Breast cancer survivors are at risk of developing a second primary cancer. Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the leading second primary cancers, and it is often preventable. We developed a multi-component educational tool to inform and encourage women breast cancer survivors to engage in CRC screening. To assess the strengths and weakness of the tool and to improve the relevancy to the target audience, we convened four focus groups of women breast cancer survivors in Missouri. We also assessed the potential impact of the tool on the knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs regarding CRC and collected information on the barriers to CRC screening through pre- and post-focus groups’ questionnaires. A total of 43 women breast cancer survivors participated and provided very valuable suggestions on design and content to update the tool. Through the process and comparing pre- and post-focus group assessments, a significantly higher proportion of breast cancer survivors strongly agreed or agreed that CRC is preventable (78.6% vs. 96.9%, p = 0.02) and became aware that they were at a slightly increased risk for CRC (18.6% vs. 51.7%, p = 0.003). The most cited barrier was the complexity of preparation for colonoscopy.
J. Pers. Med.2015, 5(3), 280-295; doi:10.3390/jpm5030280 - published 3 August 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Being diagnosed and treated for breast cancer is emotionally and physically challenging. Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of death for women in the United States. Accordingly, women with a breast cancer history are the largest group of female cancer survivors. Psychological stress substantially augments adverse autonomic, endocrine, and immune discharge, including enhanced production of proinflammatory cytokines. Importantly, inflammation is a key biological mechanism underlying the symptom cluster of pain, depression, fatigue, and sleep disturbances; there is also good evidence that inflammation contributes to breast cancer recurrence. Stress may exert direct effects on psychological and physiological risk processes. In this review, we take a biobehavioral approach to understanding predictors and mechanisms underlying somatic symptoms in breast cancer survivors.
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.