More than 2,000 breast cancer survivors have joined together to participate in the Breast Cancer M.A.P. (Mind Affects the Physical) Project – a novel research program that has the potential to reshape the standard of care for breast cancer survivors.
Now survivors who have struggled through their breast cancer diagnosis and treatment have the opportunity to make their voices heard by answering questions to help researchers better understand the distress people experience due to breast cancer. This ongoing study, referred to as the M.A.P. Project, initiated by the Cancer Support Community’s Research and Training Institute, will collect critical information about the short- and long-term impact of breast cancer on the social and emotional needs of survivors.
“Each year, patients and advocates set aside the month of October to raise awareness and research funds for breast cancer. Now, through the M.A.P. Project participants can be part of the research, by helping us better understand the important role that social and emotional support plays in the healing process,” said Joanne Buzaglo, Ph.D., senior director of research at the Research and Training Institute of the Cancer Support Community.
Early research has already shown that providing social and emotional support to breast cancer patients can essentially give cancer treatment a “power-boost” as experts believe there is a link between emotional support, education, and health outcomes. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) firmly established the need to better understand and improve the social and emotional needs of breast cancer survivors through a series of evidence-based reports. In 2007, the IOM asserted that offering social and emotional support is critical to treating cancer effectively.
Additionally, a study previously published in the journal Cancer provided evidence that emotional support improved psychological and behavioral outcomes among breast cancer patients, and may also increase their chance of survival, decrease their risk for recurrence, and decrease their risk of dying from other conditions.
“We applaud the women who have already signed-up to participate in the M.A.P. Project,” said Barbara L. Andersen, Ph.D., professor, department of psychology, Ohio State University. “As the Registry continues to grow, so will our understanding of the resources that should be integrated into the standard breast cancer care for all patients.”
With every new survivor who joins the M.A.P. Project, researchers move one step closer to improving care for future generations of those diagnosed with the disease. Breast cancer survivors can visit www.breastcancerregistry.org or call 1-888-MAP-CSC9 (1-888-627-2729) to sign up. Oncologists, primary care physicians and oncology social workers interested in learning more about the registry should visit the website for more information.