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Managing symptoms by mobile phone may revolutionize cancer care for young people
Date:6/10/2008

eeling, what their temperature is, what symptoms they have and it includes a body outline so that the patient can indicate where the pain is. The language used is teenage-friendly and the whole system has been developed with the help of young patients.

The symptom reports are sent to a central server and nurses at the hospital can view them on a web page. The patient can also view their symptoms on the phone in the form of graphs, which show how their symptoms have changed over time. Once they have reported symptoms, the young person automatically receives a text message giving them advice about what to do. In the latest phase of development, the patient can click on a button that immediately gives them advice about management of the most common symptoms such as constipation, diarrhoea, sickness etc. If the symptoms are severe or getting worse, a nurse is automatically paged to contact the patient at home to offer advice and support.

Dr Gibson said that during the first stages of development, young people were very positive about the system. "They could really see the benefits and really liked it. When we were recruiting for the phase three trial, the young people who were randomised not to receive the phone were disappointed that they would not be able to use it." So far, it has been tested in teenagers aged 13-18 with lymphoma, soft tissue sarcoma and bone tumours, but the researchers hope to extend it to different groups, such as patients with leukaemia.

Teenagers said that it was useful because it gave them a record of their symptoms to talk about when they attended clinic: "Sometimes you may forget what symptoms you had three weeks ago," said one. It also saved them from having to continuously repeat their symptoms to different people at different times, and it meant that the patients knew that the doctors and nurses knew exactly what they were going through.

Parents commented on the system's potential to provide support and
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Contact: Emma Mason
wordmason@mac.com
44-077-112-96986
Teenage Cancer Trust
Source:Eurekalert

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