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Im and Chee Submit Multi-PI NIH R01 Application

Friday, June 8, 2018

Kudos to Eun-Ok Im and Wonshik Chee and their entire team for the submission of their Multi-PI NIH R01 application entitled "To Improve Menopausal Symptom Management of Asian American Breast Cancer Survivors." This proposal requests funding for a five-year period with a start date of April 1, 2019. 

Asian American breast cancer survivors reportedly have lower quality of life as well as higher relative risks and lower five-year survival rates compared with Whites. A major reason for their lower quality of life is postulated as inadequate symptom management. Menopausal symptoms are among the most prevalent and distressing symptoms following breast cancer treatment, with 70 percent experiencing hot flushes and night sweats. Yet, Asian American breast cancer survivors rarely complain about their symptoms, delay seeking help until symptoms become severe, and seldom ask or get support due to their cultural attitudes and language barriers. Subsequently, they tend to suffer unnecessarily from symptoms that could be easily managed using currently existing management strategies including pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic modalities. However, existing survivorship programs have serious impediments to providing information and coaching/support related to menopausal symptoms while considering the women’s cultural attitudes because of a lack of staff time and insurance reimbursement and the pressure of fast-paced clinical patient-provider interactions. All these circumstances necessitate an innovative and creative delivery method of information and coaching/support for menopausal symptom management.

A technology-based approach using computers and mobile devices promises to meet this necessity with high flexibility and accessibility in busy health care settings. Thus, based on Preliminary Studies (PSs), the research team has developed and pilot-tested a theory-driven technology based information and coaching/support program for menopausal symptom management of breast cancer survivors (MMAM-BC). The program is tailored to Asian American breast cancer survivors by incorporating the actual data from PSs on the women’s cultural attitudes toward breast cancer and menopausal symptoms using multiple features. The purpose of this randomized intervention study is to test the efficacy of MMAM-BC in improving menopausal symptom experience of Asian American breast cancer survivors. The specific aims are to: a) determine whether the intervention group will show significantly greater improvements than the control group in primary outcomes of the MMAM-BC from baseline to post 1-month and post 3-months; (b) identify theory-based variables that mediate the intervention effects of the MAMM-BC on the primary outcomes; and (c) determine whether the effects of the MAMM-BC on the primary outcomes are moderated by background characteristics and disease and menopausal status.