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Penn Medicine study shows survivorship care plans empower cancer patients
Date:8/20/2013

monitoring for and managing late effects of therapy to ordering routine preventive health exams such as bone density tests and colonoscopies. Consequently, important health needs among cancer survivors needs may go unmet, the authors say.

"The one constant in the care of cancer survivors is the survivor him or herself," says Christine Hill-Kayer, MD, an assistant professor of Radiation Oncology in Penn's Abramson Cancer Center and the lead author of the new study. "By providing the survivor with the resources to know which tests need to be ordered in the form of a written document, a survivorship care plan enables the survivor to take more control of his or her care, and to participate in minimizing the 'slip through the cracks' phenomenon."

The research team studied 298 cancer survivors who used the LIVESTRONG Care Plan between May 2010 and January 2013 culled from a group of 8,690 patients who completed plans during that timeframe each of whom completed a survey about their experience using the site one month after completing their plan. Each user received a care plan after inputting demographic information and data about their diagnosis and types of treatments received.

Ninety-three percent of users reported that the information provided through the care plans was excellent, very good, or good. Importantly, the findings reveal that the care plans fill a knowledge gap: 65 percent of patients said the information received was new to them and had not been previously provided by health care providers. Ninety four percent of patients felt they would recommend it to others. Eighty percent shared or planned to share it with their health care team, and of those who had already done so, 80 percent reported that it improved communication. More than 60 percent felt that the survivorship care plan changed their health care participation, and over half of users reported that they had made or planned to make a lifestyle change in response to infor
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Contact: Holly Auer
holly.auer@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-5659
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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