Acceptance-and-commitment therapy acceptable among advanced cancer patients
Among advanced cancer patients, engagement and satisfaction with acceptance-and-commitment therapy (ACT) appears to be high, according to a new study, which also reports the feasibility of a subsequent trial comparing ACT with talking controls (TC).
Researchers performed a feasibility two-arm randomized controlled trial involving 42 patients with advanced cancer, of whom 20 received ACT while 22 were designated as TC. Study outcomes included the feasibility of recruitment, patient retention, and participant attitudes toward the therapy and outcome measures.
In the overall sample, the most common malignancy was breast cancer, diagnosed in 48 percent (n=20). The average age was 62±11.5 years, and majority of the patients were female (74 percent; n=31). Researchers reported recruiting 78 percent of their target, indicating acceptable feasibility. Main barriers included availability of therapists and definitions of participant eligibility.
In comparison, only 43 percent (n=18) of the initial sample were available for data collection at the 3-month follow-up. This proportion was lower than the 60 percent retention target. Reasons for attrition included death, loss to follow-up and decline in patient health.
In terms of attitude, 62 percent (n=26) of the participants attended at least seven sessions and were identified as mostly or fully engaged with the intervention. Moreover, of those who were followed-up at 3 months, 83 percent and 50 percent of the ACT and TC groups, respectively, found the interventions useful.
The present findings indicate that ACT is an acceptable intervention in patients in palliative care, said researchers. To improve feasibility, future efforts should focus on cutting the burden of research.