Therapeutic Patient Education Programs Found to Reduce Anxiety in Patients with Cancer

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Precision medicine and biomarker testing are changing how cancer is managed.1 Molecular testing has become standard practice as more mutations that drive cancer are being identified.1 Increased biomarker testing has allowed for the use of more targeted, specific cancer therapies, which has improved treatment-making decisions and contributed to improved patient outcomes.1 It has been reported that only 12% of the American adult population are proficient in health literacy, including precision medicine, which may not be conducive for the necessary self-management and decision-making patients may need during their cancer journey.2

The Association Onco-Partage was created by oncology professionals at Clairval Hospital in Marseille, France. The group performed a knowledge survey on health literacy with a patient and caregiver panel to determine their knowledge about molecular testing in cancer. Based on the information gathered from this panel, Association Onco-Partage, along with Roche, constructed a therapeutic patient education program. To evaluate interest in this program, they developed a patient/caregiver mirror survey. There were 23 patients and 69 caregivers who completed the survey between May and June 2020. Half (50%) of the caregivers reported having training in precision medicine, but only 50% reported discussing precision medicine with their patients. Caregivers reported feeling unable to properly respond to patient questions about the significance of molecular testing or molecular testing techniques, leaving patients without clarity on testing, anxiety surrounding testing, and relying on nonprofessional information about molecular testing. One-third of patients felt that quality information about molecular testing could have reduced their anxiety.

The first axis (1 of 5) of a therapeutic patient education program was completed between June and December 2020. This axis attempted to answer questions about molecular testing with a short video explaining what a molecular test is, who is tested, why testing is done, when testing is done, and how molecular testing is conducted. The video could be viewed alone by the patient or with caregivers. Prior to viewing the video, patients’ knowledge and anxiety level were recorded. After viewing the video, patients were asked additional questions to determine knowledge and anxiety levels. A second survey was next developed based on the pre- and post-viewing responses and was given between February and March 2021. There were 57 patients and 28 caregivers who participated in this survey. As a result of viewing the therapeutic patient education video, caregivers felt better equipped to answer patient questions, and patients reported a better understanding of molecular testing and a decrease in anxiety levels.

Therapeutic patient education programs serve to clarify caregiver and patient questions surrounding molecular testing in cancer and to relieve patient anxiety.


Garibbo-Sarkissian A, Bourrières C, Youinou L, et al. CN37 precision medicine is in clinical practice but is not an assimilated concept. Ann Oncol. 2021;2(S5):S1269.


  1. American Cancer Society. Precision or personalized medicine. Updated April 24, 2020. Accessed October 25, 2021.
  2. Campbell JK. Health literacy in adult oncology: an integrative review. Oncol Nurs Forum. 2020;47:18-32.

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