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Cancer patients may benefit from reporting symptoms online in real time
Date:11/29/2007

sed the system to report their cancer- and chemotherapy-related side effects, including pain, fatigue, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, and decreased mobility, as well as their overall quality of life.

From June 2005 through March 2006, 107 lung cancer patients receiving outpatient chemotherapy at MSKCC enrolled in the study. Patients were followed for up to 16 months and 40 visits. Most enrollees were between the ages of 50 and 69, although 28 percent were older than 70. Patients were more likely to use the system if they had prior computer experience; however, age, gender, and cancer stage had no effect on log-in rates.

Researchers found that 100 percent of patients used the waiting room kiosks at some or all of their office visits. An average of 78 percent of participants logged in to the system at any given office visit.

According to the findings, patients were satisfied with the system. Most respondents (98 percent) found STAR easy to use, 90 percent said it was useful, and 77 percent expressed that it improved the quality of their discussions with clinicians.

Our study suggests that the broader use of patient self-reporting in oncology would be beneficial, said study co-author Mark G. Kris, MD, Chief of the Thoracic Oncology Service at MSKCC. STAR makes it easier for patients to provide information to their doctors about their symptoms and side effects. The fact that this information can be collected anywhere and immediately stored and shared hastens and expands our research efforts as well.

Optional home access to STAR was also offered to study participants. Home users accessed STAR more frequently than clinic-only users, with an average of 23 online sessions versus nine, respectively. Although 76 percent of patients had home computers, only 15 percent reported from home, possibly due to a lack of regular reminders, and to the perception among participants that self-reported information was not being explici
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Contact: Esther Napolitano
napolite@mskcc.org
212-639-3573
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

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