Breast Cancer Clinical Trial
Writing Interventions in Breast Cancer Patients Taking Aromatase Inhibitors
Aromatase inhibitors are a powerful medication for reducing the risk of recurrence and increasing survival in postmenopausal breast cancer patients. However, these medications can lead to intolerable side effects, poor medication adherence, and increased stress levels. This project's broad objective is to assess whether an intervention can improve medication adherence and reduce physical symptoms and stress in breast cancer patients prescribed aromatase inhibitors. Participants will be randomly assigned to a values affirmation or reflective journaling condition. Interventions will be writing-based, one essay per month for six months. Physical symptoms and perceived stress will be assessed at baseline, post-intervention (one month after the intervention), and follow-up (six months from the post-intervention assessment and seven months after the end of the intervention). Furthermore, an electronic pill bottle will continuously assess daily compliance so that medication adherence rates during the intervention, post-intervention, and follow-up can be calculated.
A sample of 250 participants will be recruited and randomly assigned to either the value affirmation (N=125) or reflective journaling (N=125) condition. Participants will complete baseline measures of physical symptoms, perceived stress, and other covariates. They will also be given an electronic pill bottle that will record whether they have daily opened and closed the bottle, signifying adherence to their prescribed medication regime. This pill bottle will sync to an online dashboard. Participants in both conditions will complete a brief essay online (or via paper and pencil for those who prefer or do not have internet access) every month for six months. Value affirmation condition essays will include prompts about important, core personal values. Reflective journaling essays will have prompts that do not include any core personal value content but ask participants, in part, to write about typical daily routines. Following the conclusion of the intervention, participants will report on their levels of perceived stress and physical symptoms. Six months following the post-intervention assessment, participants will again report their perceived stress levels and physical symptoms. A sample size of 250 has been selected for feasibility and because this sample size provides at least 80% power to detect differences for all three outcomes of interest.
A sub-study will be conducted on 80 of these participants who will complete their 3rd essay prompt in an fMRI scanner. In the scan session, participants will also complete a stress reactivity task. The sub-study will allow examination of the neural mechanism of value affirmation and reflective journaling to determine whether these neural mechanisms lead to enhanced medication adherence rates and reductions in stress and physical symptoms.
Breast cancer diagnosis
Prescribed an aromatase inhibitor within four weeks of enrollment or anticipates being prescribed one in the future
Intention to take the prescribed aromatase inhibitor
Fluency in English
Own a smartphone that can support downloaded apps
Exclusion Criteria for fMRI component only:
Have implanted metal
Have an implanted electronic medical device
Have an IUD that contains metal
Are currently pregnant
Have a history of claustrophobia
Weigh more than 300 pounds
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There is 1 Location for this study
Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, 15213, United States More Info
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