Conquest - Spring 2014
Screening tool targets body-image concerns
by Katrina Burton
While clinicians and surgeons work to provide the best medical outcomes for cancer patients undergoing reconstructive surgery, researchers and psychologists work to help prevent acute psychosocial impairment.
In a cross-sectional study recently published in Psycho-Oncology, researchers tested a survey that acts as an early screening and intervention tool to help clinicians identify patients who were at high risk for body image concerns.
“Patients can become very distressed by appearance changes after reconstructive surgery,” said Michelle Fingeret, Ph.D., a behavioral scientist and lead investigator on the study. “We need to be able to identify these patients and address their concerns as early as possible to ensure we provide the best intervention.”
The survey, known as Body Image Screener for Cancer Reconstruction (BICR), was designed specifically for cancer patients undergoing reconstructive surgery at MD Anderson, and is administered by plastic surgeons. Fingeret, a psychologist and director of MD Anderson’s Body Image Therapy Program, said this type of screening is needed to better assess patients’ frame of mind before surgery.
The survey, which was administered to 248 patients undergoing different types of reconstructive surgery, covers three key components that indicate body-image concerns: distress, behavioral avoidance and preoccupation.
More than 95% of the patients expressed concerns about body-image and one-third were interested in enrolling in counseling or receiving additional information about body-image distress. “This is just the first step in research that needs to be done on this population group,” Fingeret said.
“We’re raising an important issue to patients and clinicians because body-image concerns affect the quality of life for both patients and survivors.”
In This Issue
- Saying thanks to a champion of the struggle
- The pain won’t stop, but it won’t stop her
- The drug that may make chemo a thing of the past
- Understanding over-imaging
- Convenience comes standard at Rotary House
- Casting a wide network
- A tale of two proteins
- Invasive bladder and breast cancers bear a molecular resemblance
- Sensor-based technology benefits both patients and clinicians
- The write stuff improves outcomes
- Drugs team up to hit tumors, boost immune system attacks
- Blood test may one day reveal cancer
- MD Anderson immunotherapy pioneer’s List of awards keeps growing
- Screening tool targets body-image concerns
- MD Anderson establishes immunotherapy partnerships
- Leukemia chair picks up lifetime achievement honor