EXPRESSIVE WRITING THERAPY FOR BREAST CANCER PATIENTS UNDER STUDY AT UMASS GRADUATE SCHOOL OF NURSING
Funding granted by Komen Breast Cancer Foundation

December 03, 1999

WORCESTER, Mass. – The Graduate School of Nursing (GSN) at the University of Massachusetts Medical School has received its first research grant from the prestigious Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Susan M. Bauer, DNSc, RN, assistant professor for the GSN and the medical school's Division of Preventive & Behavioral Medicine, will study Disclosure: Effects on Women with Metastatic Breast Cancer.

Disclosure through expressive writing (EW) is a brief, non-invasive psychosocial intervention that simply guides a patient to put their negative feelings ? about their disease or anything else that is bothering them ? in writing. EW has already been shown to be therapeutic for persons without cancer who have experienced stressful events, and pilot work with prostate cancer patients has been promising. Dr. Bauer's hypothesis is that women with metastatic breast cancer who participate in an expressive writing intervention will have better quality of life, slower disease progression and lower health care costs than those who do not.

"The premise is that internalized stress is bad for us," said Bauer, whose current study builds on prior research that showed that advanced breast cancer patients who participated in support groups survived twice as long as those who did not participate in support groups. "However, I've found that a lot of people don't like groups, and very sick patients may have limited access. I think this is an ideal alternative for such individuals."

Bauer is the first and only nurse scientist nationwide to receive a Komen grant. "Dr. Bauer is one of an emerging number of internationally accomplished nurse scientists who are committed to improving quality of life through rigorous scientific study," said Lillian R. Goodman, EdD, dean of the GSN. "Dr. Bauer's research is significant because of its scientific approach to breast cancer patients' quality of life," noted Elda Railey, director of the Komen Foundation's International Grant Program.

The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation is a national organization fighting to eradicate breast cancer by advancing research, education, screening and treatment. Its National Grants Program is the nation's largest private funder of research dedicated solely to breast cancer. The foundation selects projects with potential for high impact that may not be considered by other agencies that, once launched, can attract larger federal research grants.

The Graduate School of Nursing (GSN) at the University of Massachusetts Medical School has been educating clinical nurse specialists and nurse practitioners since 1985, offering master's and doctoral degrees. The University of Massachusetts Medical School is one of the fastest growing academic health centers in the country, attracting more than $92 million in research funding annually.

Women with metastatic breast cancer who are interested in participating in the study can contact the Graduate School of Nursing's research office at (508) 856-3012.

Additional information available: 
Susan G. Komen Foundation This link goes to another web server 
Graduate School of Nursing