STREAM management system improves quality of life in cancer patients

The online stress management system STREAM improved cancer patients' quality of life following diagnosis, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Patients recently diagnosed with cancer experience high level of psychological distress, and many of them lack a solid support system, leading to decreased quality of life. In this study, researchers examined the feasibility of the web-based stress management STREAM system in improving access to care and improving their quality of life.

A total of 129 newly diagnosed patients with cancer who had began treatment within the previous 12 weeks were included in the study, 65 of whom received the intervention while 64 were placed in the control group. Patients in the intervention group received a therapist-guided online STREAM system while control patients were put on a wait list.

Results showed patients in the intervention group achieved a quality of life significantly higher than those in the control group. Levels of distress were significantly reduced in the intervention group. On average, psychologists tended to patients 13.3 minutes per week for online guidance. Adherence to the system was also high—80 percent of participants used at least six of the eight models.

“With digital natives approaching an age that places them at risk for developing age-associated diseases, including cancer, use of the Internet in the health care setting will likely further increase,” wrote first author Corinne Urech and colleagues. “In this randomized trial, we found that a Web-based, guided self-help intervention resulted in a clinically meaningful improvement in quality of life. Our results indicate that Web-based, guided self-help has potential to efficiently support newly diagnosed patients with cancer.”