Randomized Controlled Trial of a E-intervention to Help Patients Newly Diagnosed With Cancer Cope Better: Pilot Study

Official Title

Implementing an e-Intervention to Reduce Anxiety Symptoms and Improve Psychosocial Oncology Uptake in Patients Newly Diagnosed With Head and Neck Cancer: Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial


Informed by a previous trial in general cancer patients, the investigators aim to conduct a multi-centre Phase III explanatory RCT to demonstrate a significant impact of PTSD Coach on levels of anxiety in head and neck cancer (HNC) patients, including saliva and hair cortisol as bio-immunological indicators for stress. However, prior to proposing a larger trial requiring 267 patients, the investigators aim to demonstrate feasibility of recruitment and compliance with protocol procedures in a Phase II Pilot of 60 newly diagnosed HNC patients. The EG will receive PTSD Coach + usual care, compared to two control groups (UC and AC). AC will be comprised of a game app (e.g., Tetris, Candy Crush, or Solitaire) and will be structurally equivalent to the EG to control for distraction (attention on something pleasant or a task) and the human factor involved in usage prompting (i.e., same exposure time + contacts with personnel), since either distraction or the human contact with staff may, alone, lower anxiety. From a resource allocation perspective, it is important to know if the positive effects of PTSD Coach are due to the intervention itself or to the use of an app and its usage prompting. The investigators believe that PTSD Coach will be even more effective at reducing anxiety in HNC patients, as it teaches specific CBT techniques and uses psychoeducation already found to be more effective than distraction alone.

Trial Description

Primary Outcome:

  • Feasibility of recruitment for a full trial study
  • PTSD Coach app Acceptability
Secondary Outcome:
  • Completion of intervention in a timely manner
  • Sample size calculation for full trial study
See above

View this trial on ClinicalTrials.gov

Interested in this trial?

Print this page and take it to your doctor to discuss your eligibilty and treatment options. Only your doctor can refer you to a clinical trial.


Canadian Cancer Society

These resources are provided in partnership with the Canadian Cancer Society