Nueva Vida Research Project
Latina breast cancer survivors report lower quality of life (QOL) than non-Latina breast cancer survivors. Although we are starting to learn what factors impact QOL for Latina survivors, less is known about ways to improve QOL in this group. Family members or friends who serve as caregivers to Latina survivors are also impacted by their loved one’s diagnosis. Many Latino caregivers indicate they do not have the coping skills they need. They also say they experience family stress. For some caregivers, distress experienced at the time of their loved one’s diagnosis does not go away over time. Given the lower QOL experienced by Latina survivors and the impact of their illness on their caregivers, we seek to compare two interventions to improve QOL in Latina survivors and their caregivers.
The interventions will be delivered by individuals who are bilingual and bicultural fully aware of cultural values and norms of the Latino culture. One intervention will involve both the Latina breast cancer survivor and her caregiver (called the Patient-Caregiver Intervention; PCI). The people assigned by chance to the PCI invention group will attend 8 sessions, held twice per month, that teaches coping and communication skills. Unique to the PCI group is that the Latina survivor and her caregiver will both come to the same place for each session, but then will go to different rooms so that small groups of the Latina breast cancer survivors (8-10 in each group) will meet together and small groups of their caregivers (8-10 in each group) will meet together. Then the survivor and caregiver groups will come together again to briefly discuss the topic of the day.
The other group in this study will be a usual care group (UC). In this group, Latin breast cancer patients and their caregivers will receive the usual services offered to them through a hospital, clinic or a local community organization. These usual services could include patient navigation (case management) or regular support groups.
Study surveys will be done before the intervention (baseline), immediately after the 8-session intervention (post-test) and again 6-months after the end of the intervention (follow-up). All participants will receive the surveys. We will look at whether the PCI intervention changes QOL among the Latina survivors and their caregivers compared to UC. We will also look at if the changes in QOL are due to improved communication and social support and lower distress.
If successful, our study will show that including caregivers in a unique intervention improves QOL among Latina survivors more than if they attended an intervention on their own.
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