University Presentation Showcase Event: Faculty Submissions

Project Title

Developing a Virtual Breast Cancer Survivor Support Group


Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy


Over 3.5 million breast cancer survivors (BCS) live in the US (ACS, 2020) and 3,800 Kentucky women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020 (Siegel, Miller, & Jemal, 2020). The internet increases access to support groups (Egbert & Wright, 2019; Huang, Han, Wei, Liu, Du, Yang, Li, Yao, & Wang, 2019; Wang & Wei, 2020); however, additional research is needed to evaluate their efficacy with BCS (Pekkola & Garbrah, 2018; Son, Hertsenberg, Nahm, Corbitt, McQuaige, Jaidar, & Rosenblatt, 2019; Hendershot, 2019). We sought to create an online support group for BCS for survivors in rural Kentucky who had completed treatment, except for Herceptin or an anti-hormone medication. A scripted message and a Virtual Breast Cancer Support Group (VBCSG) flyer was sent to 86 oncology providers via email or fax. Thirteen of the 86 oncology providers responded favorably to the VBCSG. Additionally, we created the Rural Kentucky Breast Cancer Support Group Facebook page to provide Facebook Live BCS educational sessions and recruit for the study. We shared the link to the Facebook page with providers and BCS. After recruiting for several months and not having any BCS who met the criteria of living in rural Kentucky, the inclusion criteria were expanded to include BCS living in any area in the United States. Five women agreed to participate in the VBCSG. Currently these BCS are completing the pre-VBCSB needs assessment and the support group is scheduled to begin in April.


American Cancer Society (2020). How common is Breast Cancer? Retrieved from

Egbert, N., & Wright, K. B. (2019). Social Support and Health in the Digital Age. Rowman & Littlefield.

Hendershot, A. L. (2019). Cancer Survivorship in a Rural County. Journal of Oncology Navigation & Survivorship, 10(12), 524–529.

Huang, J., Han, Y., Wei, J., Liu, X., Du, Y., Yang, L., Li, Y., Yao, W., & Wang, R. (2019). The effectiveness of the Internet-based self-management program for cancer-related fatigue patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Clinical Rehabilitation, 34(3), 287-298.

Pekkola, M., & Garbrah, W. (2018). Social support experiences of breast cancer patients. JAMK Journal of Health and Social Studies, e72-e79.

Son, H., Hertsenberg, L., Nahm, E.-S., Corbitt, N., McQuaige, M., Jaidar, N., & Rosenblatt, P. (2019). Use of Health Information Technologies for Cancer Survivorship Care: A Comprehensive Review of the Literature. Journal of Informatics Nursing, 4(4), 6-19.

Wang, J., & Wei, L. (2020). Fear and Hope, Bitter and Sweet: Emotion Sharing of Cancer Community on Twitter. Social Media + Society, 6(1), 1-12.

Siegel, R. L., Miller, K. D., & Jemal, A. (2020). Cancer statistics, 2020. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, 70(1), 7-30.

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