HealthDay News — A psychoeducational intervention is effective for reducing fear of cancer recurrence (FCR) among patients with ongoing melanoma care, according to a study published online Oct. 10 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Mbathio Dieng, PhD, from The University of Sydney, and colleagues conducted a randomized controlled trial to examine the efficacy of a psychoeducational intervention to reduce FCR. The intervention included a newly developed psychoeducational resource and three telephone-based psychotherapeutic sessions over a one-month period, timed to coincide with dermatology appointments. As part of ongoing melanoma care, participants were randomized to the intervention (80 patients) or usual care (84 patients).

The researchers found that in baseline-adjusted models, the intervention group reported lower FCR severity, trigger, and distress scores than the control group at six months. After adjustment for other covariates, the decrease in FCR severity (but not triggers or distress) remained significant. The intervention group also reported lower stress at six months, and improved melanoma-related knowledge relative to the control group. There were no between-group differences noted for other secondary outcomes.

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“This newly developed evidence-based psychoeducational intervention was effective in reducing FCR and stress and with increasing melanoma-related knowledge in people at high risk for another melanoma,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to SciBase.

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Dieng M, et al. Psychoeducational intervention to reduce fear of cancer recurrence in people at high risk of developing another primary melanoma: results of a randomized controlled trial. J Clin Oncol. 2016. DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2016.68.2278. [Epub ahead of print]