Category V: Original Research on Survivorship Programs

August 2015 Vol 6 No 4
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F1 From Surviving to Thriving After a Cancer Diagnosis with a Community-Based Troy Family YMCA LIVESTRONG Program
Barbara McHale, RN, BS, OCN, CBCN1; Nancy Gildersleeve2

1Samaritan Hospital Cancer Treatment Center, St. Peter’s Health Partners, Troy, NY; 2Capital District YMCA, Albany, NY

Background: Once cancer treatment was completed at the Samaritan Hospital Cancer Treatment Center, we saw the impact it had taken on patients physically and emotionally. They fought so hard to survive; now we owed them the chance to regain their balance, strength, and sense of self. The Troy Family YMCA received a grant from the LIVESTRONG Foundation to develop a program to increase patients’ physical activity, thereby improving their quality of life. The 12-week program was designed to provide hope, health, and healing for adult cancer survivors in a safe and supportive environment.

Objectives: To describe the impact of a “no cost to the patient” 12-week YMCA LIVESTRONG–based program on (1) improvement in physical activity, (2) the direct correlation between increased physical activity and an increase in satisfaction with social role, and (3) acceptance and feasibility in the community.

Methods: A Cancer Survivor Focus Group was scheduled to gather information. Meetings were scheduled with Troy Family YMCA, Samaritan Hospital Cancer Treatment Center, and the nurse navigator. The inclusion of the nurse navigator was an important point of contact for referrals. The initial program would be twice weekly. An intake form was used to collect information. Medical clearance was obtained from the patient’s primary care physician and/or medical oncologist. Qualified personnel administered all fitness assessments and exercise activities. Patients developed 3 goals they hoped to achieve. A pre- and postassessment of physical functions, anxiety, depression, fatigue, sleep disturbance, satisfaction with social role, pain interference, and pain intensity were obtained from the prior 7 days.

Results: There was a 100% improvement in physical function in all patients after the program. A direct correlation between improvements in physical activity and an increase in satisfaction of social role was noted. We saw improvement in each patient, whether it was a decrease in anxiety (57%), a decrease in depression (14%), a decrease in sleep disturbance (86%), or an increase in satisfaction with social role (86%). With regard to pain intensity or interference, 57% of patients saw an improvement, and 29% had an increase in pain related to additional surgery and the effect of cold weather on their neuropathy issues secondary to previous treatments. All patients strongly agreed that the program supported them in their pursuit of health and well-being, that they had made progress toward their goals, and that they planned to continue exercising after the program ended.

Conclusion: There was a noted improvement in physical activity and a direct correlation with increased physical activity and improvement in satisfaction with social role. The program was accepted into the community and promoted by word of mouth. One issue is determining how to maintain this program at “no cost to the patient.” We need to find funding to maintain this program, so that all patients can improve their physical activity and regain their sense of normalcy in a life where everything has changed so dramatically.

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  F2 Meeting the Needs of Jewish Women Diagnosed with Breast Cancer with Sharsheret’s Thriving Again Survivorship Program
Adina Fleischmann, LSW1; Elana Silber, MBA1; Sarah E. Murphy, BA2; Andrea C. Johnson2; Suzanne C. O’Neill, PhD2; Kenneth P. Tercyak, PhD2

1Sharsheret, Teaneck, NJ; 2Division of Population Sciences, Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC

Background: Young breast cancer survivors are a rapidly growing but an understudied group. Women who receive treatment for breast cancer face significant challenges posttreatment, including medical and psychosocial issues that adversely impact their quality of life. Among this population are women from minority backgrounds, including Jewish women who are carriers of alterations in breast cancer–causing genes. The unique social, cultural, and spiritual needs of Jewish breast cancer survivors have received scant attention in the empirical literature, including ways to promote their access to tailored survivorship education and support resources.

Objectives: To describe a community-based resource program for young Jewish breast cancer survivors, and to examine their engagement and satisfaction with the resource components.

Methods: The Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center conducted a secondary analysis of breast cancer survivor–reported outcome data that were collected by Sharsheret, a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving women of all Jewish backgrounds, with or at risk for breast cancer. Engagement and satisfaction with Sharsheret’s Thriving Again (TA) survivorship program was rated using Likert scales. TA connects women with culturally relevant and age-appropriate survivorship information, including (1) patient education from support staff and online materials, (2) a survivorship toolkit, (3) a survivorship care plan, and (4) lifestyle resources (eg, cookbook, exercise DVD). These resources are tailored to address individual needs.

Results: Approximately 90% of TA participants (N = 183; mean age, 50 years; standard deviation [SD], 10) self-identified as being Jewish. The majority of women were married (N = 126 [69%]) and mother to at least 1 child (N = 129 [70%]). Participants were very satisfied with their experience using the program overall (mean, 4.1; SD, 0.84; range, 1-5 scale). Program components had varied levels of engagement, all with high satisfaction, including education (N = 108 [59%]; mean, 4.4; SD, 0.65), survivorship toolkit (N = 151 [83%]; mean, 4.1; SD, 0.73), survivorship care plan (N = 99 [54%]; mean, 4.0; SD, 0.86), and lifestyle resources (N = 138 [75%]; mean, 4.2; SD, 0.73).

Conclusion: These data affirm the success of the TA survivorship program for breast cancer survivors. Key successful elements of the program include patient education and lifestyle resources. This model of support could be enhanced and expanded for further dissemination in this special population. Understanding and addressing potential barriers to adoption can facilitate increased use. With the growing demand for effective survivorship resources in the community, healthcare professionals can use TA to provide tailored, culturally relevant support and education to the breast cancer survivors they serve, and replicate the TA program components for use by specific populations.

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Last modified: August 10, 2023

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