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Psychoeducation Does Not Improve Melanoma Outcome

Short-term benefits in patients' mood but no change to recurrence or survival rates

MONDAY, Dec. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Psychoeducation has no impact on the recurrence-free interval or survival rates of patients with primary malignant melanoma, according to the results of a study published in the Dec. 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Ellen H. Boesen, M.D., of the Danish Cancer Society in Copenhagen, Denmark, and colleagues conducted a study of 258 Danish patients, of whom 128 were randomized to receive six weekly two-hour psychoeducation sessions while 130 were controls. Both groups were followed up for four to six years after surgery.

In the intervention group, eight patients died and 11 had recurrent disease during the follow-up period. In the control group, eight died and seven had recurrence. In a group of 137 patients who refused to participate in the study, 19 died and 12 had recurrent disease.

"The overall conclusion from the present and other studies is that psychosocial intervention does not prolong the time to recurrence and does not improve survival after diagnosis and treatment of cancer," the authors write. "Nevertheless, there is strong evidence that the psychological distress of patients with cancer can be reduced by participation in interventions, justifying the use of psychosocial support for cancer survivors in clinical practice."

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