Examining depression, anxiety and fear of recurrence among cancer survivors who participated in a virtual cognitive behavioural therapy-based telephone coaching program

October 21, 2022

A cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming, but the aftermath of the disease can be just as challenging. Depression, anxiety and fear of recurrence (FOR) are common among cancer survivors, and it is suggested that they have access to supportive services and resources to address psychosocial needs during their follow-up care.

The After Cancer Treatment Transition (ACTT) clinic at Women’s College Hospital (WCH) conducted a study to examine the impact of a virtual cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)-based telephone coaching program, called BounceBack®, on depression, anxiety and FOR. This study was recently published in Supportive Care in Cancer.

Through the ACTT clinic at WCH, eligible participants were identified, consented and referred to the BounceBack® program. Program participation involved the completion of self-selected online workbooks and support from trained telephone coaches. Measures of depression, anxiety and FOR were collected at pre-intervention and post-intervention (6-month and 12-month time points). The study revealed that measures of depression and anxiety significantly improved among participants from pre-intervention to post-intervention.

This study suggests that a virtual CBT-based telephone coaching program can be an effective approach to managing depression, anxiety and fear of recurrence in cancer survivors.

About the After Cancer Treatment Transition (ACTT) Clinic

The ACTT Clinic provides comprehensive cancer survivorship care to women and men who have completed their cancer treatment at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and/or Women’s College Hospital and are now cancer free. The types of cancer that are seen at the ACTT clinic include:

  • breast cancer
  • thyroid cancer
  • gynecological cancer (e.g. uterine, cervical, ovarian cancer)
  • melanoma
  • gastrointestinal (e.g. colon, rectal cancer)
  • testicular cancer

About BounceBack®

BounceBack® is a free, skill-building program for adults and youth aged 15+. Through one-on-one telephone coaching, workbooks and online videos that participants can do from the comfort of their home, they learn lifelong skills to help them better manage their symptoms of low mood, mild to moderate depression and anxiety, stress or worry. The program is available in multiple languages. To learn more about BounceBack® and chronic conditions, download this handout.

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