Improvements in cancer diagnosis and treatment strategies have led to more people living with cancer and concomitant mild-to-severe stress due to cancer-related health concerns and changes in life and functionality. Chronic stress can have a detrimental impact on patients’ health, as well as cancer progression and treatment outcomes, due to an over-activation of physiological systems involved in the body’s stress responses.
ased on previous literature, we hypothesize that cancer-associated stress has toxic effects on health in patients with poor ability to manage emotions in a flexible and adaptive way. The CARE project aims to examine a wide range of biological and psychological stress markers in breast and testicular cancer patients: how their levels change throughout the first year after cancer diagnosis and how these biomarkers interact with patients’ emotion regulation ability and psychological flexibility. We will study the impact of these markers on physical and mental health and on cancer progression and treatment response using biochemical, epigenetic and behavioural techniques.
We will also assess how these stress-related changes can be managed using a modern, brief, easy and accessible eHome-care, self-delivered intervention, via momentary ecological assessment of emotions and health indices, to enhance emotion regulation skills, functionality and wellbeing. To this end, after baseline assessment of immune, neuroendocrine, stress biomarkers and tumour epigenetics, as well as emotional responding to an experimental emotion induction procedure, breast and testicular cancer patients will be assigned to a self-administered, eHome-care intervention or wait-list control groups. Effects of the intervention will be assessed on the same biomarkers in up to 9 months follow-ups.
Findings from this project will provide reliable markers to predict at-risk cancer patients that can benefit from psychological interventions, but also evidence for the ability of already existing interventions to reduce cancer-related stress and its effects on physical and mental health outcomes.
Dr. Maria Matsangidou
||Cyprus Cancer Research Institute: CCRI
||Bank of Cyprus Oncology Center (BCOC)
University of Cyprus (UCY)