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

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E169-E180
JournalCancer Nursing
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2023


  • Breast cancer
  • Palliative care
  • Self-management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Oncology(nursing)


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