Aims: This study aimed to investigate the feasibility of an online cognitive rehabilitation intervention for cancer survivors. Face-to-face interventions of this sort have been effective in improving subjective and objective cognitive performance in various areas of cognitive function. There is little evidence to date about whether web-based interventions provide similar outcomes for improving cognitive function in this clinical group.
Methods: A pilot study was conducted that included a total of 50 participants divided into three groups: cancer intervention, control intervention, and control waitlist groups. All cancer participants were assigned to the intervention group and control participants were randomly allocated to the intervention or waitlist group. The intervention groups completed a 4-week online cognitive rehabilitation program that was adapted from a face-to-face intervention that showed benefits in two prior published studies. Assessments were conducted at baseline, post-intervention, and 3-month follow-up. Participants rated treatment satisfaction, extent of cognitive change, likelihood of recommending the program to others, and provided an overall rating of the program. Additional assessment included measures of objective and subjective cognitive functioning, prospective memory, quality of life, distress, basic needs, and illness perception.
Results: 79% of participants were either “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with their treatment, 86% reported their cognitive problems either “improved a little” or “improved a lot”, and 83% of participants were either “likely” or “very likely” to recommend the program to others. The overall rating of the program was 7.8 on a 1 through 10 scale. Retention rates were 92% for the cancer group, 62% for the control treatment group, and 94% for the control waitlist group. Preliminary results on primary and secondary outcome measures are currently being analysed.
Conclusions: The online cognitive rehabilitation program appears to be a feasible method of providing support to cancer survivors with cognitive problems after treatment. Further investigation is warranted.