The diagnosis and treatment of oral and oropharyngeal cancers adversely affects the ability to swallow, taste, speak, chew, and maintain movement of the head, neck, and shoulder. To preserve function and reduce late effects, survivors coordinate their long-term medical and psychosocial needs, manage a significant number of daily care routines, and address comorbidities. Despite the significant long-term survivorship care requirements, there are no empirically-based interventions to assist survivors in building skills and confidence to effectively manage their care. We have evaluated the information and support needs of survivors recruited via the New Jersey State Cancer Registry and, using this feedback, designed, and tested the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of Empowered Survivor (ES), an innovative and interactive online intervention. Our results indicated that Empowered Survivor was well-utilized and resulted in significant improvements in self-efficacy in managing care, greater preparedness for managing survivorship, and head and neck specific quality of life (QOL). Engagement in three self-care behaviors (oral self-exam, swallowing and head and neck mobility exercises) increased. The goal of the proposed study is to bolster the ES intervention by enhancing modules and adding two modules based on participant input: Calm and Connect, which focuses on managing psychological concerns, and Maintaining, which focuses on maintaining self-care routines. We will evaluate ES against a free online self-management intervention, Springboard Beyond Cancer (Springboard), which was developed for cancer survivors by the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society. Six hundred patients who have completed treatment between one and three years ago and are currently cancer-free will be recruited via the New Jersey State Cancer Registry or the Cancer Registry of Greater California and randomly assigned to ES or Springboard. Participants will complete measures at baseline, 2, and 6-months post- baseline. Finally, we will engage in a process evaluation of Empowered Survivor to inform future implementation. This single site clinical trial study has four aims.
Aim 1 evaluates the impact of ES versus Springboard on the primary outcomes of self-efficacy, preparedness, and head and neck specific QOL.
Aim 2 examines mediators (planning, information needs, support needs, activation, fear of recurrence) and moderators (age, race/ethnicity, sex, HPV status, baseline self-efficacy and preparedness) of ES's impact on self-efficacy in managing care, preparedness, and head and neck specific QOL.
Aim 3 evaluate the impact of ES versus Springboard Beyond Cancer on the secondary outcomes of engagement in oral self-exams and head and neck mobility exercises. The Exploratory Aim conducts a process evaluation of ES to inform future implementation. Although cancer survivors have many long-term self-care needs, there are few empirically- based self-management interventions for cancer survivors. Should Empowered Survivor prove efficacious, it will serve as a model of care and advance both science and practice for survivors of all types of cancer, particularly survivors who receive their care in the community.

Public Health Relevance

Oral and oropharyngeal cancer survivors carry a high symptom burden that results in many self care requirements that can be overwhelming complex difficult to manage and can result in compromised quality of life unmet needs and low participation in self-care. There are no empirically based interventions to enhance skills and confidence to manage oral cancer survivors self care. This study proposes to evaluate a promising online intervention called Empowered Survivor or ES for short and evaluate its impact on self efficacy in managing care preparedness for managing survivorship and health related quality of life as well as engagement in several key self-care behaviors. Should ES prove efficacious it will serve as a model of care and advance both science and practice for cancer survivors particularly those who reside in the community.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Research Project (R01)
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Termination was authorized on 9/28/2020. Clinical Management of Patients in Community-based Settings Study Section (CMPC)
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Nelson, Wendy
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Rbhs -Cancer Institute of New Jersey
Overall Medical
New Brunswick
United States
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