Stavanger HF successfully recruited participants to two of the REBECCA studies using hospital intranet.
Breast cancer is a life-changing diagnosis that affects many women across the world. The REBECCA project aims at improving the quality of life for breast cancer patients by conducting multiple studies and combining data from different sources. The Stavanger University Hospital’s intranet, Pulsen, has proven to be a successful recruitment tool for the REBECCA project, as healthy women were recruited to participate in one of the studies through the hospital’s internal communication system.In addition, they recruited healthy controls by sending invitations to the departments of Hematology and Oncology, Breast and Endocrine Surgery, and Mammography.
The Study Design and Data Collection
The recruitment process was initiated through the “Minipulsen” column, which has the same format as a post on social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram. This made it easy for hospital staff to quickly access and share the recruitment communication, enabling swift communication exchange. The call for participants has been a success! So far, 49 participants have been recruited from Norway. These volunteers engage in a 12-month study where they agree to track their routines and provide biological samples.
The target group is healthy women between 18 and 80 years old, which would also include 24 participants below 50 and 25 participants above 50, who can read and speak Norwegian, understand the protocol, and participate in the follow-up plan. It is also essential that the recruitees have never had cancer before.
The Observation and the Intervention Studies and their Aims
The REBECCA project aims to provide more knowledge about the quality of life and chronic ailments during and after the completion of treatment in breast cancer patients. This study can help improve the follow-up of breast cancer patients in the future. REBECCA conducts two types of studies: observation and intervention studies. An observation study aims to monitor the quality of life of breast cancer patients to promote an understanding of the factors that affect the quality of life, as well as the functional limitations of patients suffering from cancer-related fatigue. An intervention study aims to use multi-source real-world data to monitor the quality of life of breast cancer patients affected by cancer-related fatigue during and after cancer treatment and provide a more comprehensive and personal follow-up to them to improve their quality of life.
The recruitment for the observation study will end in May 2023, while the recruitment for the intervention study will end in December 2023. So far, 47 patients have been included in the observation study and 13 patients have been included in the intervention study. Studies have started, and Stavanger University Hospital is committed to conducting high-quality research that will improve the quality of life for breast cancer patients.
What does it imply to be part of a REBECCA study?
At the start of the study, participants are requested to provide biological samples and fill out a questionnaire about their quality of life. After end of treatment they are given a smartwatch that records movements, steps, and sleep patterns, which they will use for 12 months. Participants are also requested to install the REBECCA app on their smartphone and a REBECCA plug-in on their PC or laptop to collect information related to their movement patterns and internet use. All data collected are pseudonymized, and participants receive more information about data processing and storage before agreeing to participate in the study.
With the success of recruiting healthy women through the hospital’s intranet, the REBECCA project is well on its way to achieving its goals!