A proof-of-concept study of iCope: A nurse-led psycho-educational telephone intervention for women attending a rapid diagnostic centre for breast abnormality

Christine Maheu, Mina Singh, Christine Courbasson, Sharmy Sarvanantham, Sylvie Lambert, Sylvie Dubois, Ashley Charbonneau, Robin Grantner, Lorena Baku, David McCready, Margareth Zanchetta, Wing Lam Tock, Maude Hébert, Doris Howell


The period between the initial discovery of a suspicious breast lesion and a confirmed diagnosis is a time of significant psychological distress, heightened anxiety, and uncertainty for many women. This proof of concept (PoC) study explored the clinical outcomes and acceptability of iCope, a nurse-led psycho-educational telephone intervention aimed to assist with uncertainty, anxiety and coping in women going through a Rapid Diagnostic Centre (RDC) offering quick diagnosis of breast cancer (same day to three-day post-investigation). Guided by the Uncertainty Theory, and using a one-arm pretest-posttest design, two brief 15-minute telephone sessions were delivered by a nurse prior to the women’s day of testing at the RDC and three days after the receipt of their results. Six women completed measures of anxiety, uncertainty, and coping before the clinic visit, three days and three weeks after receiving their test results. Results show that the implementation of the telephone intervention was challenging, yet may offer potential for positive impact. That is, trends of decreased uncertainty and anxiety in participants over time were noted. Considering the difficulty observed in the recruitment and delivering the two interventions in the timeline planned, feasibility testing is recommended before the conduct of a large-scale study. 


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