You may have heard about genetic conditions that cause breast cancer, but you may not realize that approximately 50 different hereditary cancer syndromes (HCS) have been identified in which mutations (changes) in certain genes are passed from parents to children. With the increase in the availability of genetic testing, more and more individuals are learning that they have one of those syndromes. HCS may put affected individuals at up to an 80% increased chance of developing specific cancers. Previvors—individuals who have tested positive for an HCS through a genetic test but have not received a cancer diagnosis—face complicated cancer risk management plans involving yearly multi-organ cancer surveillance and risk-reducing strategies, including prophylactic surgery. They often report increased stress and mental health concerns.
ProChange Behavior Solutions has recently been awarded grant funding from the National Institutes of Health to develop and pilot test a precision population health previvors resilience program. This grant spans 18 months and will enable ProChange to develop a text-based program specifically designed for cancer previvors. The aim of the precision population health solution is to help this community of individuals build resilience, cope with the emotional impact of their cancer risk status, and improve their overall quality of life.
The emotional impact on previvors is often significant, as they live with the fear and uncertainty of developing cancer for themselves as well as their family members. The previvor community is estimated to include 1.2 million individuals in the United States alone. Despite the large number of previvors worldwide, limited resources and support are available to them. The precision population health previvors resilience program will address this gap by providing text-based support and resources to help previvors cope with their cancer risk status and improve their emotional well-being.
The grant funding will be used to develop and pilot test the previvors program. This personalized solution will be based on ProChange’s evidence-based text-based program recharge™. The program will incorporate behavior change science and cutting-edge tailoring techniques to help previvors build resilience and improve their overall quality of life and cancer risk management.
The precision population health previvors resilience program has the potential to provide much-needed support and resources to the previvor community. Through the development of an interactive texting solution, ProChange aims to help previvors build resilience and cope with the emotional impact of their cancer risk status while optimizing population health. ProChange is committed to positively impacting the lives of previvors and advancing cancer risk management research
– Kerry E. Evers, Ph.D. co-President and CEO
Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R43CA275673. The content is solely the authors’ responsibility and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.