Background: The COVID-19 global pandemic created significant challenges in providing screening, treatment, and support services to women at risk for and living with breast and ovarian cancer. These individuals have unique socio-emotional needs (eg, stress, fear of recurrence, caregiving, employment, financial hardship) that preceded the pandemic and intensified during COVID-19. Sharsheret, a national nonprofit organization helping Jewish women with breast and ovarian cancer, provides informative and supportive programming to address these needs. In response to the pandemic, the organization implemented a range of programs specifically designed for this population during a time of crisis.
Objectives: To describe the psychosocial care needs of women impacted by breast and ovarian cancer, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the implementation of resources to meet these needs.
Methods: Outcome data from 345 respondents were collected in early 2021, including data from a special COVID-19 impact survey evaluating remote programs offered during the pandemic.
Results: Among respondents, 19% were most concerned about financial hardship during the pandemic due to loss of/changes in employment, insurance, or other income; 16% also expressed concern about obtaining care and support. Respondents expressed high satisfaction with the programs and services offered, as 64% highly valued online educational webinars, and 51% valued experiential workshops and essential connections with Sharsheret’s clinical staff. The implementation of such programs supported women in maintaining their physical health, mental health, and overall well-being in the midst of a global pandemic.
Conclusion: Success of these remote care services offered during COVID-19 highlights the necessity of implementing opportunities for continued psychosocial programming. Insights gleaned from this evaluation serve to inform on how to best educate and counsel women at risk for and surviving with breast and ovarian cancer during times of crisis.