PEPSIN is a feasibility study designed for women with early stage breast cancer who are enrolling on a personalised supportive intervention, either a specialised make-up/skincare programme (e.g. Look Good Feel Better) or exercise programme (e.g. Brighter Outlook, CUFitter). There is growing evidence that supportive interventions can have psychological benefits for people affected by cancer, including improvement in quality of life, mood and optimised immune responses, for example a reduction in cortisol levels. The aim of our study is to examine the feasibility and acceptability of measuring stress cortisol levels in women with breast cancer participating in a personalised supportive intervention.
We will ask participants to complete a series of psychological and biological measures (e.g. questionnaires, saliva/hair samples) before workshop participation and over the course of 12 weeks thereafter. The time points will allow us to assess whether there are psychobiological changes associated with attendance, whether or not these changes are durable over time, and if there is an association with psychosocial outcomes. Additionally, we will capture information about whether the participants were in favour of any of these measures, how long they took to complete and how easy they were to complete. The results and patient-based feedback could inform future research into this important but under-investigated area.