Women who are diagnosed with and treated for breast cancer face a variety of unique psychological, physical and social challenges. The primary aim of the trial is to evaluate the effectiveness of education and counseling intervention programs in helping patients and their partners cope with the diagnosis, treatment and ongoing recovery process.
"We know that education and counseling combined with medical treatment are important components for recovery," said Professor Carol Noll Hoskins, principal investigator of the clinical trial and a professor in the NYU Division of Nursing in The Steinhardt School of Education. "However, little is known about what type of educational and counseling interventions are most effective."
The proposed trial will compare four groups receiving four different approaches. The first group of patients will serve as the control group and will receive only the standard disease management intervention provided by the hospital-based surgical oncology service. Patients in the second group will receive both the disease management program and educational videotapes. A third group will receive the standard disease management protocol and telephone counseling. A fourth group will receive the standard disease management protocol, educational videotapes, and telephone counseling.
Dr. Hoskins, along with co-investigators, NYU Division of Nursing professors Dr. Judith Haber and Dr. Deborah Sherman, have conducted preliminary studies of education and counseling intervention programs. From 1990 to 1994, the team studied more than 125 women and their spouses for an entire year to evaluate psychological distress, physical side effects to treatment, social support patterns, and ability to function in home, work, and social environments following breast cancer treatment. Using the data from the first study, a second study was designed to develop a program for helping women and their partners cope with the effects from breast cancer treatment. The research resulted in an award-winning informational video series, Journey to Recovery: For Women with Breast Cancer and their Partners.
Dr. Hoskins, Dr. Haber and Dr. Sherman are available for interview about the program of research. Many students have been involved in the research, including those who have completed their PhD degree in the Division of Nursing.