Goal-Focused Emotion-Regulation Therapy (GET) for young adult survivors of testicular cancer: a pilot randomized controlled trial of a biobehavioral intervention protocol.

Testicular cancer diagnosis and treatment, especially given its threat to sexuality and reproductive health, can be distressing in the formative period of young adulthood and the majority of young survivors experience impairing, distressing, and modifiable adverse outcomes that can persist long after medical treatment. These include psychological distress, impairment in pursuit of life goals, persistent physical side effects, elevated risk of secondary malignancies and chronic illness, and biobehavioral burden (e.g., enhanced inflammation, dysregulated diurnal stress hormones). However, few targeted interventions exist to assist young survivors in renegotiating life goals and regulating cancer-related emotions, and none focus on reducing the burden of morbidity via biobehavioral mechanisms. This paper describes the methodology of a randomized controlled biobehavioral trial designed to investigate the feasibility and preliminary impact of a novel intervention, Goal-focused Emotion-Regulation Therapy (GET), aimed at improving distress symptoms, emotion regulation, goal navigation skills, and stress-sensitive biomarkers in young adult testicular cancer patients.

Participants will be randomized to receive six sessions of GET or Individual Supportive Therapy (ISP) delivered over 8 weeks. In addition to indicators of intervention feasibility, we will measure primary (depressive and anxiety symptoms) and secondary (emotion regulation and goal navigation skills, career confusion) psychological outcomes prior to (T0), immediately after (T1), and 12 weeks after (T2) intervention. Additionally, identified biomarkers will be measured at baseline and at T2.

GET may have the potential to improve self-regulation across biobehavioral domains, improve overall cancer adjustment, and address the need for targeted supportive care interventions for young adult cancer survivors.

Clinicaltrials.gov, NCT04150848. Registered on 28 October 2019.

Trials. 2020 Apr 14*** epublish ***

Michael A Hoyt, Ashley Wei-Ting Wang, Sean J Ryan, Elizabeth C Breen, Jennifer S Cheavens, Christian J Nelson

Department of Population Health and Disease Prevention and the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California, Irvine, 653 E Peltason Drive, Irvine, CA, 95697-3957, USA. ., Department of Psychology, Soochow University, Shinlin, Taiwan., Department of Psychology, Graduate Center, City University of New York, New York, NY, USA., Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA., Department of Psychology, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA., Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA.

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