(HealthDay News) — A web-based, self-report assessment and educational intervention is beneficial for reducing symptom distress during cancer therapy, according to a study published online Dec. 16 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Donna L. Berry, PhD, RN, from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and colleagues assessed a web-based self-report intervention in a trial involving 752 ambulatory adult participants who were randomly assigned symptom/quality of life (SxQOL) screening (control) or screening, targeted education, communication coaching and the ability to track SxQOL over time (intervention). The assessment was used before a new therapeutic regimen at 3 to 6 weeks and 6 to 8 weeks later, and at the end of therapy. Self-reported data were delivered to clinicians at each time point.

The researchers found that from baseline to the end of the study, there was a significant difference between the study groups in the mean change score on the Symptoms Distress Scale-15 (SDS-15) (1.27 in the control group [higher distress] vs. –0.04 in the intervention group [lower distress]). There was an estimated 1.21 reduction in SDS-15 score in the intervention group (P = 0.02).

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The authors found that baseline SDS-15 score (P <. 001) and clinical service (P = .01) were predictive of changes in scores.

Baseline SDS-15 score (P < .001) and clinical service (P = .01) were predictive.

Significant predictors included baseline SDS-15 score and clinical service. In multivariable analyses, results demonstrated an interaction between age and study group (P = 0.06). In subgroup analysis, the benefit of intervention appearing to be strongest in those aged older than 50 years (P = 0.002).

“Web-based self-care support and communication coaching added to SxQOL screening reduced symptom distress in a multicenter sample of participants with various diagnoses during and after active cancer treatment,” the authors wrote.


  1. Berry DL, Hong F, Halpenny B, et al. Electronic Self-Report Assessment for Cancer and Self-Care Support: results of a Multicenter Randomized Trial. J Clin Oncol. 2013;doi: 10.1200/JCO.2013.48.6662.