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Penn's online survivorship care plans empower cancer survivors, caregivers
Date:4/19/2009

(DENVER) An online tool that provides cancer survivors and their family members with an easy-to-follow roadmap for managing their health as they finish treatment and transition to life as a survivor got high marks from users, according to new University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine research which will be presented this weekend at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) 100th Annual Meeting 2009 in Denver. Ninety-seven percent of people who used OncoLife, the first online cancer survivorship care plan tool developed by physicians and nurses from Penn's Abramson Cancer Center rated their experience with the tool as "good" to "excellent," and 84 percent said they planned to share their plan with their health care team.

The findings reveal that OncoLife can serve as one way to fulfill the Institute of Medicine's recommendation that the 12 million cancer survivors across the United States use plans like these to become knowledgeable about the potential late effects and learn about the specialized follow-up care they'll need following their disease.

"This tool empowers patients to open important dialogue with their healthcare providers to better understand the effects of their cancer treatment," says James Metz, MD, an associate professor of Radiation Oncology who serves as editor-in-chief of OncoLink and the department's Chief of Clinical Operations. "Because this tool is Internet based, cancer survivors and healthcare providers now have an easy and reliable way to obtain information regarding survivorship care issues instantaneously."

Penn researchers surveyed 3,343 individuals who created OncoLife care plans during an 18-month period in 2007 and 2008. In addition to cancer survivors, who made up 62 percent of the OncoLife users, health care providers and family or friends of survivors also created care plans on the site. In a survey of the survivors who made OncoLife plans -- whose diagnoses included more than 34 di
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Contact: Kim Guenther
kim.guenther@uphs.upenn.edu
215-200-2312
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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