The Research Behind iCALM
Individuals facing advanced or metastatic cancer are at high-risk of significant distress due to the disease, the side effects of treatment, and the impending threat of mortality. Psychotherapy can be effective to treat distress; however many patients do not receive it due to lack of access to tailored psychosocial treatment in cancer centres, hospitals, or in the community; this is especially true for patients who live in rural and underserved areas.
The use of online or mobile-based psychotherapeutic interventions is an innovative and cost-effective approach to increase access to psychosocial services for individuals limited by geographic, financial, or physical barriers. However, there are currently a very limited number of online psychotherapies for patients with advanced disease.
Managing Cancer and Living Meaningfully (CALM) is a brief psychotherapeutic intervention uniquely tailored for the needs of patients with advanced or metastatic cancer. CALM has been shown to be effective in reducing or preventing depression in this population. Since access to specialized care is limited, we are now developing an online version of CALM, referred to as iCALM. We will be testing its feasibility and preliminary efficacy in a pilot RCT at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, in Canada, and the University of Ulm, in Germany. iCALM will be one of the first online psychotherapeutic interventions designed for patients with advanced disease.