Tailoring a Chronic Disease Self-Management Approach for Cancer

9 December 2011

Faculty Member - Doris HowellThe final instalment of the Alumni Lifelong Learning Series at Bloomberg Nursing was held November 9, 2011, and featured a presentation by professor (status) and RBC Financial Group Chair in Oncology Nursing Research Dr. Doris Howell about “tailoring a chronic disease self-management approach for cancer.”

Howell began by exploring why it’s necessary to customize chronic disease self-management (CDSM) for cancer patients and survivors, explaining that even though there are similarities to other chronic diseases, there are also important differences. In addition, there are a variety of cancer populations and modalities to consider; as well as psycho-social issues, such as the anxiety around the risk of recurrence. CDSM is about empowering patients and building their self-efficacy, as it emphasizes health behaviour change and patient application of problem-solving skills. It also proves more effective than traditional patient education, applying a range of preventive or therapeutic activities to manage illness on an ongoing basis.

Then Howell described her use of a mixed-method study to address gaps in CDSM and the application of the “Precede-Proceed” framework to guide data collection. Systematic reviews have revealed that how CDSM is delivered greatly effects the efficacy and benefits of the program. The study aims to develop a foundation for an approach to integrating disease self-management and self-management support in the cancer system to optimize health and living with cancer. As Howell pointed out, “People are already doing self-management, but they may not be doing it effectively so we need to know how to support them to be more effective.” Evidence from the research will then be used to inform CDSM policy and system changes needed for cancer.

Hosted by the Centre for Advanced Studies in Professional Practice, the Alumni Lifelong Learning Series calls on the expertise of our outstanding research team and consists of three professional development/continuing education seminars for the Faculty of Nursing’s alumni, as well as current students. The series began October 6, 2011, with Dr. Amy Bender’s discussion of the potential of e-mentoring in Ethiopia, followed by Dr. Jan Angus’ presentation on type II diabetes and coronary heart disease prevention on October 19, 2011