Integrating Palliative Care Into Self-management of Breast Cancer: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial : Cancer Nursing

Secondary Logo

Journal Logo


Integrating Palliative Care Into Self-management of Breast Cancer

A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial

Schulman-Green, Dena PhD; Linsky, Sarah MPH; Jeon, Sangchoon PhD; Holland, Margaret L. PhD, MPH; Kapo, Jennifer MD; Blatt, Leslie APRN; Adams, Catherine MD, PhD; Chagpar, Anees B. MD

Author Information
Cancer Nursing 46(3):p E169-E180, 5/6 2023. | DOI: 10.1097/NCC.0000000000001078



Breast cancer patients may not be well-informed about palliative care, hindering its integration into cancer self-management.


The aim of this study was to test Managing Cancer Care: A Personal Guide (MCC-PT), an intervention to improve palliative care literacy and cancer self-management.


This was a single-blind pilot randomized controlled trial to evaluate the feasibility/acceptability and intervention effects of MCC-PT on palliative care literacy, self-management behaviors/emotions, and moderation by demographic/clinical characteristics. We enrolled 71 stages I to IV breast cancer patients aged at least 21 years, with >6-month prognosis at an academic cancer center. Patients were randomized to MCC-PT (n = 32) versus symptom management education as attention-control (n = 39). At baseline, 1 month, and 3 months, participants completed the Knowledge of Care Options Test (primary outcome), Control Preferences Scale, Goals of Care Form, Medical Communication Competence Scale, Measurement of Transitions in Cancer Scale, Chronic Disease Self-efficacy Scale, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and the Mishel Uncertainty in Illness Scale.


Mean participant age was 51.5 years (range, 28–74 years); 53.5% were racial/ethnic minority patients, and 40.8% had stage III/IV cancer. After adjusting for race/ethnicity, MCC-PT users improved their palliative care literacy with a large effect size (partial η2 = 0.13). Patients at late stage of disease showed increased self-management (partial η2 = 0.05) and reduced anxiety (partial η2 = 0.05) and depression (partial η2 = 0.07) with medium effect sizes.


Managing Cancer Care: A Personal Guide is feasible and appears most effective in late-stage cancer. Research is needed to elucidate relationships among cancer stage, race/ethnicity, and self-management outcomes.

Implications for Practice 

Integration of palliative care into cancer care can assist in creation of appropriate self-management plans and improve emotional outcomes.

Copyright © 2022 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.

You can read the full text of this article if you:

Access through Ovid