Symptoms and Survivorship
Empowering lung cancer survivors and family members to “breathe easier”: Adaptation and evaluation of a m-health intervention.
Background: Survivors of lung cancer often experience a myriad of symptoms that have devastating effects on their physical and psychological functioning such as dyspnea, fatigue, and stress. To combat these symptoms, the American College of Chest Physicians has recommended the use of complementary therapies. Mindfulness-based Cancer Recovery (MBCR) can empower survivors, and caregivers who often cope with their own health problems and the stress related to caring for a survivor. Our goal is to deliver a tailored, culturally sensitive, MBCR intervention to survivors and family members via a mHealth app. Methods: This research was comprised of four phases. Phase I was the development and testing of an 8-week in-person intervention called Breathe Easier with survivors and family members (dyads). Phase II adapted Breathe Easier into a mHealth app prototype utilizing user-centered design. Phase III was a focus-group evaluation of the usability and acceptance of the mHealth app prototype by survivors and family members. Phase IV was comprised of additional interviews with an African-American subset of survivors and family members to assess the cultural sensitivity of the mHealth app. Results: Findings from the in-person intervention (n = 62) showed that all agreed the intervention materials were acceptable, different levels of yoga, breathing exercises, and meditations helped them, and involving a family member was important. Preliminary analyses showed survivors had less dyspnea and perceived stress over time (T1 vs T2). Both groups had improved fatigue and sleep scores. Findings from the mHealth app design and acceptance evaluation were organized into two primary categories: usefulness and ease of use. User-friendly design recommendations included aesthetic appeal, navigation layout, and display of content. Furthermore, potential health outcomes, privacy concerns, and comparison to in-person interventions also influenced app usefulness and acceptance. Lastly, findings from our cultural sensitivity assessment demonstrated that the mHealth app was culturally sensitive for African-Americans, but some changes were recommended. Conclusions: MBCR interventions hold great promise for improving the lives of racially diverse survivors of lung cancer and family members. An mHealth app will increase accessibility. However, special consideration of app design is needed to ensure future acceptance and longer-term usage.