Study Looking at Whether Online Training Can Help Cancer Patients Deal With Pain

August 16, 2022 by TWN Staff
Study Looking at Whether Online Training Can Help Cancer Patients Deal With Pain
National Cancer Institute, Shady Grove Campus in Rockville, MD. (Photo credit: National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health)

CHARLESTON, S.C. — A national trial being carried out at the MUSC Hollings Cancer Center in Charleston, South Carolina, and other locations across the country, is investigating whether cancer patients can benefit from online training sessions on how to deal with pain.

“We know that pain is one of the most common symptoms that cancer survivors experience, both as a result of the cancer and then potentially following treatment,” said Dr. Sarah Tucker Price, a family medicine physician who focuses on patients at Hollings Cancer Center. 

“We have medication and nonmedication ways that we can try to help address that pain. I think one of the things that’s underutilized is some of these nonpharmacologic options to help patients with their pain management. But one of the limitations on some of the nonpharmacologic options is that they’re time intensive and resource intensive,” she explained.

Price is also the site lead for the Internet-based Program to Help Cancer Survivors Manage Pain trial, which is occurring at multiple sites across the U.S. under the auspices of the National Cancer Institute’s Community Oncology Research Program.

Hollings is an NCORP-MU site and shares with other research members the goal of bringing cancer clinical trials to patients in their own communities with the goal of reducing disparities.

In the trial, an online version can be pulled up at the patient’s convenience. The trial will test whether the online version is effective at reducing the severity of pain and how much pain interferes with daily activities like walking, sleep, mood and general enjoyment of life.

Patients who are randomized to the online program will be responsible for watching eight 45-minute learning modules over the course of 10 weeks. The modules will cover things like relaxation techniques and various coping strategies.

Patients can participate in the trial if they’re taking pain medication, but they need to have been on their particular regimens for a minimum of two weeks. They also must have finished their treatment regimens and their cancers must be considered stable.

“One of the benefits of this is it’s a potential opportunity to improve pain in our cancer survivors, with limited side effects because it’s a nonmedication option. And by doing it through internet modules, it’s more convenient, more accessible to patients but still delivering much of the content that has previously been shown to be beneficial,” Price said.

 

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