Long-term telephone therapy outcomes for breast cancer patients



We present the results of a breast cancer clinical trial that tested two therapy interventions delivered by telephone. Women (N=218) with Stages I, II, or III breast cancer were randomly assigned to breast cancer health education or emotional expression interventions, or to a standard care control condition. Outcome and process measures were obtained at baseline, 6-month and 13-month follow-ups. Oncology certified nurses conducted the therapies in six, 30-minute individual phone sessions. Women in the health education condition reported significantly better knowledge and less perceived stress compared to women in the emotional expression and control conditions. No treatment effects, however, were obtained for quality of life or mood, and all women generally improved on these measures over time. Secondary analyses showed that younger women and women with a more advanced stage of breast cancer reported significantly greater avoidant coping. The data show that telephone therapy is a viable delivery modality and that distress improves with time for most women. Overall, this study showed that neither of the two telephone interventions tested had a meaningful effect on quality of life or mood. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.