Emotional well-being in cancer is essential to guarantee the patient’s quality of life. Now, a study by the IDIBELL Psycho-oncology and Digital Health research group and the Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO) indicates that breast cancer patients show a great interest in audiovisual content related to medical and emotional issues of cancer during the three months after diagnosis. This fact underlines the need to create and facilitate this type of content for patients to avoid possible emotional stress derived from this need.
The study led by Dr. Cristian Ochoa from ICO, published in the journal Cancers, follows 234 women diagnosed with breast cancer who used the ICOnnecta’t application between March 2019 and March 2021. ICOnnecta’t is a platform created by the same research group that aims to support patients by monitoring their symptoms, offering psychosocial care, and transferring verified information about the disease. Among the women who used this application, the researchers analyzed the most visited resources after diagnosis, with videos with medical and emotional content being the most popular. In addition, it was observed that those patients who were guided by a health psychologist were more active than the users who accessed them spontaneously.
The importance of emotional support in breast cancer
Cancer is a disease that affects all life areas, including the emotional sphere. In fact, its diagnosis can trigger a series of very complex processes, such as acceptance of the situation, management of physical symptoms, or readjustment of family relationships. The global management of the disease, the misinformation, and the side effects caused by the treatment increase uncertainty and stress, which can affect the quality of life of patients.
To date, psychosocial interventions, which include aspects such as the provision of verified information, social support, or psychotherapy, have been shown to have positive effects. In addition, increasing cancer knowledge, self-management skills, and communication self-efficacy could also improve patients’ quality of life.
The Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) is a biomedical research center created in 2004. It is participated by the Bellvitge University Hospital and the Viladecans Hospital of the Catalan Institute of Health, the Catalan Institute of Oncology, the University of Barcelona and the City Council of L’Hospitalet de Llobregat.
IDIBELL is a member of the Campus of International Excellence of the University of Barcelona HUBc and is part of the CERCA institution of the Generalitat de Catalunya. In 2009 it became one of the first five Spanish research centers accredited as a health research institute by the Carlos III Health Institute. In addition, it is part of the “HR Excellence in Research” program of the European Union and is a member of EATRIS and REGIC. Since 2018, IDIBELL has been an Accredited Center of the AECC Scientific Foundation (FCAECC).