In this study, we compare symptom response and times to response among patients with breast cancer who were assigned to either a cognitive behavioral Nurse-Administered Symptom Management intervention or an Automated Telephone Symptom Management (ATSM) intervention.
Patients with breast cancer were identified from a larger trial. Baseline equivalence existed between arms, and there was no differential attrition by arm. Anchor-based definition of response using mild, moderate, and severe categories of symptom severity were used. Responses and times to response for 15 symptoms were investigated in relation to trial arm, comorbid conditions, treatment protocols, and metastatic versus localized disease.
The ATSM arm was more effective among patents with metastatic disease. Compared with patients receiving combination chemotherapy protocols, those treated with single agents had greater response and shorter time to response.
An educational information intervention delivered via an automated voice response system that assesses symptoms and refers patients to a Symptom Management Guide is more effective than a complex cognitive behavioral approach in terms of producing greater symptom responses in shorter time intervals among patients with metastatic disease.