6/22/13 WE REACHED OUR GOAL!!! THANKS TO ALL WHO GOT US THERE WITH CONTRIBUTIONS AND REFERRING FRIENDS AND FAMILY!
HELP US REACH OUR STREATCH GOAL TO RECORD THE NEW MEDITATION EXERCISES FOR THE GROUP...
AND FOR THOSE OF YOU HERE FOR THE FIRST TIME, HERE IS OUR STORY:
“Getting to the final chapter was like reaching the denouement in a mystery novel: everything fit together. We all began at a scary place, and the class led us along a well-marked trail to a bright, optimistic conclusion.” - Barbara, cancer Survivor and study participant (see full letter in Gallery)
Cancer survivors like Barbara inspire us to reach out using new tools to help other survivors. Fighting and surviving cancer is stressful. Research suggests that effectively handling stress can lead to better health outcomes for ovarian cancer survivors. We wondered…
- Is it possible to take an intensely personal, class-based mindfulness intervention for cancer survivors and bring it to the web?
- Which of the intervention pieces are truly effective in reducing stress?
- How can we connect with study participants who are still under treatment and may have geographic challenges to participating?
And so we hatched an idea to build an online intervention that allows us to connect with our participants and captures anonymous data about their program participation.
We created a web-delivered wellness program and are now raising funds for the interactive “web-workbook” to accompany the intervention to maximize effectiveness and reach.
With this workbook in place, we achieve two major milestones:
- Reaching a broad and geographically dispersed population to teach stress-reduction techniques that could significantly affect health outcomes as part of survivorship.
- Capture anonymous data and leverage the lessons learned to secure a federal grant for a large-scale study that could lead to more lives improved.
Research has shown that chronic stress can influence many factors that are relevant to health and disease. For example, chronic stress can:
- - Impair immune function;
- - Slow wound healing;
- - Accelerate aging processes; and
- - Increase rates of DNA damage.
Research — by our team as well as others — also suggests chronic stress and social isolation may influence our biology in ways that can support the progression of several types of cancer, including ovarian cancers. For example:
- The growth of ovarian cancer cells is encouraged by hormones our bodies produce when we’re stressed: Ovarian cancer cells have receptors that, when triggered by stress hormones, spur the development of blood vessels that feed the tumor’s growth.1, 2
- At the same time, chronic stress suppresses the immune cells that would otherwise try to fight cancer.3
- On the other hand, having strong connections with people around us can buffer the harmful effects of stress. This social connectedness has been associated with a survival advantage among a variety of cancer survivors including ovarian cancer survivors.4-7
- Research with breast cancer patients8 has already shown that psychological intervention programs can reduce stress, improve immune function, normalize levels of stress hormones, and even influence genes in our immune cells being turned on and off.9 These programs can also empower participants and help them grow emotionally.10, 11
FUNDING! You can help. Help bring science that is happening now to light. We believe this web tool could lead to significantly better ways to reach cancer survivors to improve health and wellness outcomes.
- If we raise $50,000 or more, we will be able to “pilot test” our new program with more groups of ovarian cancer survivors and collect more data to strengthen our application when we apply for federal funding.
In addition, our program has the potential to be adapted for many other types of patients. Ultimately we want to make programs that help reduce stress and improve health available for all cancer survivors. You can help us take this critical first step.
How you can help and what you get
Spread the word! Let your friends and family know about our campaign and ask them to tell their friends.
Contribute to our campaign! Your contribution will help support ovarian cancer patients and enable us to take a critical step toward making this program to reduce stress and improve health available for all cancer survivors. Help us advance the frontiers of science!
By contributing, you can also access some of the stress management tools we use in our research, including copies of our existing workbooks and relaxation exercises. Check out the perks on the right for details.
Become a patron of science today. In the early days of science, only wealthy noblemen could be patrons supporting scientists. Now with crowd funding, everyone can support science!
Thank you — for taking the time to learn about our work, for telling your friends and family about our campaign, and, if you choose, for becoming a contributor. We are grateful for your support!
Dr. Bonnie A. McGregor is an associate member in Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center’s Public Health Sciences Division. Her NIH-funded research interests include psychological interventions with cancer patients and testing the effects of psychological interventions on psychological and biological outcomes. She is a licensed clinical psychologist and maintains a small private practice specializing in working with cancer survivors.
Dr. Susan Lutgendorf is a professor at the University of Iowa and a highly published author and internationally respected researcher in the field of psychoneuroimmunology. She is a core member of the National Cancer Institute Network on Biobehavioral Pathways in Cancer. Her NIH-funded research interests include investigating the effects of stress and social support on the progression of ovarian cancer.
Dr. Janine E. Gauthier is a licensed clinical health psychologist specializing in psychosocial oncology. She completed a National Cancer Institute Cancer Prevention and Control Fellowship at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Her clinical work is focused on the emotional and psychosocial aspects of cancer treatment and survivorship. Dr Gauthier’s research interests include emotional distress, mind-body medicine, Integrative Medicine, spirituality and health, and coping in cancer patients.
- Thaker PH, Han LY, Kamat AA, et al. Chronic stress promotes tumor growth and angiogenesis in a mouse model of ovarian carcinoma. Nat Med. Aug 2006;12(8):939-944.
- Lutgendorf SK, Cole S, Costanzo E, et al. Stress-related mediators stimulate vascular endothelial growth factor secretion by two ovarian cancer cell lines. Clin Cancer Res. Oct 1 2003;9(12):4514-4521.
- Antoni MH, Lutgendorf SK, Cole SW, Dhabhar FS, Sephton SE, McDonald PG, Stefanek M, Sood AK. The influence of bio-behavioural factors on tumour biology: pathways and mechanisms. Nat Rev Cancer. 2006;6(3):240-8.
- Lutgendorf SK, De Geest K, Bender D, et al. Social influences on clinical outcomes of patients with ovarian cancer. J Clin Oncol. Aug 10 2012;30(23):2885-2890.
- Nausheen B, Gidron Y, Peveler R, Moss-Morris R. Social support and cancer progression: a systematic review. J Psychosom Res. Nov 2009;67(5):403-415.
- Pinquart M, Duberstein PR. Associations of social networks with cancer mortality: a meta-analysis. Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. Aug 2010;75(2):122-137.
- Sprehn GC, Chambers JE, Saykin AJ, Konski A, Johnstone PA. Decreased cancer survival in individuals separated at time of diagnosis: critical period for cancer pathophysiology? Cancer. Nov 1 2009;115(21):5108-5116.
- McGregor BA, Antoni MH. Psychological intervention and health outcomes among women treated for breast cancer: A review of stress pathways and biological mediators. Brain Behav Immun. Feb 2009;23(2):159-166.
- Andersen BL, Yang HC, Farrar WB, et al. Psychologic intervention improves survival for breast cancer patients: a randomized clinical trial. Cancer. Nov 17 2008:3450-3458.
- Antoni MH. Psychosocial intervention effects on adaptation, disease course and biobehavioral processes in cancer. Brain Behav Immun. Mar 15 2013;30, Supplement(0):S88-S98.
- Antoni MH, Lehman JM, Kilbourn KM, et al. Cognitive-behavioral stress management intervention decreases the prevalence of depression and enhances benefit finding among women under treatment for early-stage breast cancer. Health Psychol. 2001;20(1):20-32.
- Antoni MH, Lutgendorf SK, Blomberg B, et al. Cognitive-behavioral stress management reverses anxiety-related leukocyte transcriptional dynamics. Biol Psychiatry. Feb 15 2012;71(4):366-372.
- McGregor BA, Antoni MH, Boyers A, Alferi SM, Blomberg BB, Carver CS. Cognitive-behavioral stress management increases benefit finding and immune function among women with early-stage breast cancer. J Psychosom Res. 2004/1 2004;56(1):1-8.
- Lutgendorf SK, Johnsen EL, Cooper B, et al. Vascular endothelial growth factor and social support in patients with ovarian carcinoma. Cancer. Aug 15 2002;95(4):808-815.
- Lutgendorf SK, DeGeest K, Dahmoush L, et al. Social isolation is associated with elevated tumor norepinephrine in ovarian carcinoma patients. Brain Behav Immun. Feb 2011;25(2):250-255.
- Lutgendorf SK, Sood AK. Biobehavioral factors and cancer progression: physiological pathways and mechanisms. Psychosom Med. Nov-Dec 2011;73(9):724-730.
Copies of the scientific papers we reference here are available in the Gallery.
Copyright notice: The PDFs in the Gallery are provided to facilitate the non-commercial exchange of scientific information. The publishers of these articles hold the copyright. Anyone downloading a PDF from this page should use it in manner consistent with the fair use provisions of U.S. copyright law. In particular, downloaded PDFs should not be distributed or used for any profit-making enterprise.