LIBERATE Living better with advanced breast cancer: Symptom-monitoring, self-management and sign-posting support for women living with secondary breast cancer

Project start date: November 2017

Anticipated end date: November 2020

Funding: Breast Cancer Now

Despite significant steps forward in treatment of breast cancer over the past 20 years, the risk of relapse remains considerable. In approximately 30-40% of cases, cancerous cells spread from the breast to other regions of the body, usually the brain, bones, liver or lungs. This is known as secondary, metastatic or stage 4 breast cancer.

Quality of life (QOL) is a central concern for those living with secondary breast cancer, yet it is frequently compromised for survival benefit. Whilst this advanced stage of disease remains incurable, it is increasingly treatable. Many patients are living longer, yet they are faced with ongoing issues secondary to both disease and treatment, often in the absence of supportive resources which are relevant to their needs.

Aims and objectives

This research has two main aims, which will be met across two distinct phases of research.

  1. To understand the factors affecting the QOL of women living with secondary breast cancer.
  • To evaluate the feasibility of an online self-management & symptom monitoring intervention tailored to address the identified supportive needs of these patients.

Phase I: Designing a tailored supportive intervention

Primary objectives are to;

  1. Identify and evaluate online supportive and technology-assisted interventions in the context of advanced cancer.
  • Explore, using qualitative interviews, QOL issues and supportive needs of women living with secondary breast cancer.
  • Consult with a diverse group of experts in the field regarding the content of the proposed symptom-monitoring and self-management functionalities.

Phase II: Intervention evaluation

Primary objectives are to;

  • Develop an evidence-based intervention guided by Phase I findings and the wider secondary breast cancer literature.
  • Evaluate the usability & feasibility of this online intervention in a diverse group of women living with secondary breast cancer.

Study team:

Kathleen Kane (PhD student)

Dr Fiona Kennedy (Grant holder & lead supervisor)

Dr Kate Absolom

Dr Clare Harley

Professor Galina Velikova

For further information on the LIBERATE project, please contact Kathleen Kane: um08k2k@leeds.ac.uk