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Mixed results seen with eHealth program for cancer survivors

Cancer survivors appear to experience variable benefit from an eHealth self-management program designed to increase self-efficacy for managing cancer-related issues, according to a study published online Oct. 20 in Cancer.

Corinne R. Leach, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and colleagues conducted a randomized controlled trial to examine the efficacy of and engagement with an eHealth self-management program (Springboard Beyond Cancer) for cancer survivors. The effects of intervention engagement for treatment were examined overall for 88 participants in the control arm and 88 in the intervention arm and were examined separately by age.

The researchers observed a significant increase in self-efficacy for managing cancer within the intervention arm and for those who had completed treatment (Cohen’s d = 0.26 and 0.31, respectively). Compared with the control group, participants with moderate-to-high engagement in the text and/or web intervention had significantly greater self-efficacy for managing cancer-related issues, with a medium effect size (Cohen’s d = 0.44). At three months after baseline, there was no difference seen in self-efficacy between the intervention and control arms.

“The results from this and prior eHealth randomized controlled trials suggest that eHealth tools can work for those who engage as designed but also do not work for everyone,” the authors write. “Future research must determine who benefits from specific components of eHealth interventions, such as web, app, or text, and who does not to facilitate the targeting and tailoring of eHealth to those most likely to benefit and identify individuals who need alternative interventions that are higher touch or in person.”