Intervention Reduces Fear of Recurrence for Breast Cancer Survivors

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A pilot study from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center demonstrated that breast cancer survivors using the computer-based intervention AIM-FBCR showed significant improvement in coping with their fears of cancer recurrence. Although only approximately one-quarter of screened survivors agreed to participate, most participants completed 5 of 8 sessions and reported satisfaction with the program.

Breast cancer survivors receiving AIM-FBCR showed significant improvement in recurrence concerns.
Breast cancer survivors receiving AIM-FBCR showed significant improvement in recurrence concerns.

(HealthDay News) -- For breast cancer survivors, the Attention and Interpretation Modification for Fear of Breast Cancer Recurrence (AIM-FBCR) intervention shows promise for reducing fear of cancer recurrence (FCR), according to a study published online Jan. 5 in Cancer.

Wendy G. Lichtenthal, Ph.D., from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, and colleagues randomized 110 breast cancer survivors to receive eight sessions of one of two versions of AIM-FBCR or a control condition. Before, after, and three months after the intervention, computer-based assessments of cognitive biases and a self-report measure of FCR were administered.

The researchers found that survivors who received AIM-FBCR had significant improvement in health worries and interpretation biases (rates of threat endorsement and reaction times for threat rejection) compared with the control arm. The trial appeared feasible and acceptable, although only 26 percent of those who screened into the study agreed to participate; 83 percent of those who initiated the intervention completed at least five of eight sessions, and satisfaction with the computer-based program was reported by 90 percent.

"The results of the current pilot study suggest the promise of AIM-FBCR in reducing FCR in survivors of breast cancer," the authors write. "Future research should attempt to replicate these findings in a larger-scale trial using a more sophisticated, user-friendly program and additional measures of improvement in more diverse samples."

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