Dissemination of Cancer Survivorship Research: Meeting Summary
June 16, 2004
Marriott Wardman Park Hotel
“Dissemination is a purposeful, planned effort to affect the diffusion process.”
Karen Emmons, Ph.D., Professor, Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center
The presentations and discussions indicated that there was significant interest among the meeting participants in understanding the mechanisms and identifying partners needed for translating efficacious intervention research into practice. There was a debate among the group about whether cancer survivorship is the best area to initiate dissemination research since it is easier to access patients in the general population (e.g. prevention interventions) and at the point of diagnosis and treatment than post-treatment. Others saw the burgeoning field of survivorship research and the mandate to initiate programs in survivorship as an opportunity to take the lead in developing a model for research dissemination.
There was some consensus among the group that in order for dissemination efforts to be successful, there needs to be a better understanding of the pull/demand of the market and what target audiences actually want to know. Participants also discussed the tension between research and dissemination. Research demands a much cleaner and more detailed set of parameters than dissemination does and those can be competing needs. Dr. Kerner commented on the “understandable caution” on the part of researchers about what needs to be known about an intervention before moving to the dissemination phase. He proposed the context of absolutely no intervention versus dozens of them being created daily in the field, with no evidence of validity, and suggested, “Wouldn’t it be a contribution to the field to let people make an informed choice? The threshold of information may vary depending on the issue that you are trying to address.”
Interventions discussed were designed for survivors and their families across the developmental trajectory (e.g. pediatric to adult) and included a diverse range of intervention types and modes of delivery. Interventions presented included behavioral (e.g. smoking cessation, home-based diet/exercise programs), psychosocial (e.g. stress management, coping techniques, family therapy to reduce post-traumatic stress symptoms), and even complementary medical approaches (relaxation techniques). Modes of delivery included peer or professionally-delivered telephone counseling, manuals and video or audio tapes, newsletters, and face-to-face group or individual therapeutic sessions or education workshops.
The group discussion was structured around the following questions: