Researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer
Center are examining the effectiveness of bringing psychological
support into the homes of women with advanced stages of lung cancer
through telephone and videophone counseling programs. The ongoing
study is being funded by the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundations
Better Health for Women Program, a global initiative supporting
research on serious womens health problems.
Investigators at Memorial Sloan-Kettering will use the $200,000 grant
to provide at-home psychological counseling to 90 women whose illness
makes it difficult for them to travel. An additional 90 sessions will
be held with the patients primary caregivers, since other
studies have found the highest levels of distress among those individuals.
Women with lung cancer have a high rate of anxiety and depression,
and fear the future for themselves and for their families. Over 2
years, the Sloan-Kettering team will determine whether they can
reduce distress and improve quality of life for these women by making
counseling services more accessible. They will compare giving
counseling by regular telephone calls vs the use of a videophone,
which allows patients to see their counselor. Counselors will provide
eight half-hour sessions focused on how the person is coping with the
illness and how they may adapt to the changes in their lives.
Patients with lung cancer often feel isolated, especially when
they are unable to move around much as a result of their progressing
illness, said Jimmie C. Holland, MD, chairman of the Psychiatry
and Behavioral Sciences at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and
principal investigator of the study. There are similar issues
with their caregivers. This effort will determine whether we can
improve their quality of life by bringing psychological services to
them at home via the telephone, which is so much a part of life for
homebound patients with chronic disease. If this model is
proven to be effective in women with lung cancer, investigators say
it may be helpful to patients with other chronic illnesses.
Lung cancer is one of the major health threats facing American
women today. Unfortunately, it is a health problem that has not
received enough attention, said Mariclaire Payawal, director of
the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation. In supporting this and
other studies, we hope to raise national awareness of lung cancer
among women, improve our understanding of how the disease affects
women differently than men, and develop effective solutions.
More on the Womens Health Education Program
The Womens Health Education Program was established by the
Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation in 1994 to improve our understanding
of the unique health needs of women and the role that gender plays in
health. The programs goals are to identify and develop novel
approaches to educating women about their health and well-being and
to help women become more informed decision-makers and better
advocates for their own health care. The program has committed more
than $8.5 million to support projects that test innovative outreach
strategies, cultivate partnerships among institutions from different
sectors interested in womens health, or add new information to
the existing body of knowledge that will help define and achieve
optimal health for women around the world.
Funding is provided through general demonstration program grants,
which support major initiatives in different areas of womens
health, and the Better Health for Women Program, which supports
projects in specific areas of womens health through an annual
request for proposals. The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, Inc.,
supports philanthropic initiatives that help extend and enhance human life.