Funding Announced to Enhance Quality of Life for Canadians Affected by Breast

TORONTO, Oct. 14 /CNW/ - A total of $2.4 million has been awarded to five research teams in the Canadian Breast Cancer Research Alliance/Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation Special Research Competition on Psychosocial Aspects of Breast Cancer.

"Psychosocial factors exert powerful effects on health-related behaviour, response to treatment, and quality of life," says Dr. Gerald Devins, Senior Scientist at the Ontario Cancer Institute, Head of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care Research at Princess Margaret Hospital, and Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Toronto, who chaired the grant review panel.

"These studies will advance Canadian cancer-control efforts meaningfully by contributing new, cutting-edge knowledge and developing innovative new programs to enhance quality of life. I congratulate the Canadian Breast Cancer Research Alliance and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation for their wisdom and foresight in supporting this important initiative."

Dr. Devins explains that research is desperately needed to help people minimize exposure to environmental risk factors, to extract maximum benefit from treatment, and to manage the problems that can arise as a result of cancer and its treatment. "The present competition received a number of excellent applications," he says, "and the five approved for funding represent the best of those reviewed by an international panel of experts."

For this initiative, psychosocial oncology was defined as any aspect of cancer care concerned with the understanding and treatment of social, psychological, emotional, spiritual, and functional aspects of cancer, at all stages of the disease trajectory from prevention to bereavement. The focus is on a whole-person approach to cancer care, addressing a range of human needs that can improve quality of life for affected individuals and their networks.

As the number of breast cancer survivors continues to grow, largely as a result of improvements to screening programs and advances in treatment options, this field of research has become increasingly vital to the well being of thousands of Canadian breast cancer survivors.

The Canadian Breast Cancer Research Alliance and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation are proud to announce the grant recipients as follows:

    Lynda Balneaves
    University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC
    Development of a NHP decision aid for menopausal symptoms after breast
    cancer treatment

In this study, the researchers will develop and test a computer-based tool to help breast cancer survivors understand the risks and benefits of using natural health products to alleviate menopausal symptoms. This system will help women become active and informed participants in the treatment decision-making process surrounding the use of natural health products following breast cancer.

    Joan Bottorff
    University of British Columbia, Okanagan, BC
    Chris Richardson, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC
    Supporting tailored approaches to reducing tobacco (START) - decreasing
    breast cancer incidence

Young women who smoke or are exposed to secondhand smoke are at increased risk of developing breast cancer later in life. In this study, public-health messages, aimed at aboriginal and non-aboriginal adolescent girls and boys, will be designed and evaluated for their ability to promote smoke-free lifestyles. Successfully educating adolescent girls and boys about the breast cancer risk related to smoking and secondhand smoke at this early age could contribute to lowering the incidence of breast cancer.

    Tavis Campbell and Linda Carlson
    University of Calgary, Calgary, AB
    An objective comparison of cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness-
    based stress reduction for the treatment of insomnia in breast cancer
    survivors using wrist actigraphy: a randomized noninferiority trial

This study will investigate the effect of two psychosocial programs on insomnia symptoms inwomen with breast cancer. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teaches meditation and yoga and has shown promise for reducing sleep disturbance. MBSR will be compared to an already established treatment, Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I), to determine whether it produces similar effects with the added benefit of reduced stress and mood disturbance. Disrupted sleep can affect women in all stages of their cancer treatment and into survivorship, which can have a negative impact on overall quality of life. Establishing the degree of efficacy of both treatments will provide more options for patients and work towards the alleviation of a serious health risk.

    Karen Fergus
    York University, Toronto, ON
    A multisite randomized controlled trial of the first
    online intervention for young women with breast cancer and their male

This study will assess the effectiveness of an innovative online course geared to the unique needs and concerns of young couples affected by breast cancer. The ultimate impact of the study will be the creation of an accessible, cost-effective tool that could help improve the quality of life of young couples coping with breast cancer, regardless of geographic location.

    Joanne Stephen

    BC Cancer Agency, Vancouver, BC
    A randomized controlled trial testing efficacy of professionally-led
    online support groups for young Canadian breast cancer survivors

In this study, researchers in several provinces will evaluate two online support group options (professionally-led and peer-led) to determine whether they help to improve the women's mood, feelings of loneliness, confidence and overall life satisfaction. It is hoped that these support groups will also help women re-engage in valued activities and commitments.

About the Canadian Breast Cancer Research Alliance

The Canadian Breast Cancer Research Alliance was established in 1993 and is the second-largest granting agency for breast cancer research in Canada. It is a unique collaboration of organizations from the public, private and non-profit sectors combining resources to more effectively support and promote breast cancer research of the highest quality in Canada.

CBCRA members are the Avon Foundation for Women - Canada, the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, the Canadian Breast Cancer Network, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Friends of CBCRA are the Breast Cancer Society of Canada, The Cancer Research Society and CURE Foundation.

About the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation

The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation is the leading national volunteer-based organization dedicated to a vision of creating a future without breast cancer. The Foundation works collaboratively to fund, support, and advocate for: relevant and innovative breast cancer research; meaningful education and awareness programs; early diagnosis and effective treatment; and a positive quality of life for those living with breast cancer. Since its inception, the Foundation has invested over $170 million towards innovative research, education and awareness programs. For more information, visit

SOURCE Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation

For further information: For further information: Victoria Mackinlay, Manager Marketing & Communications, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, (416) 596-6773 x260,

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