A set of abstracts presented recently at the Annual Society of Clinical Oncology Annual meeting (2-6 June, IL, USA) have highlighted the potential of a simple reporting tool in increasing survival rates for metastatic cancer patients.
The four abstracts were deemed to have the greatest potential to impact patient care out of more than 5000 abstracts presented at the meeting.
Previous research has demonstrated that utilizing a simple reporting tool that allows patients to notify their clinicians of symptoms in real-time, results in a better quality of life as well as fewer visits to the hospital.
In this new study, 766 patients who were receiving outpatient chemotherapy for their advanced solid tumors were randomly assigned to self-report 12 common symptoms via tablet computers or usual care through appointments and phone calls. Cancer types included genitourinary (32% of patients), gynecologic (23%), breast (19%), and lung cancer (26%).
The researchers demonstrated the ease of using the app; all patients in the intervention group were willing and able to use the reporting tool to alert the clinicians of their symptoms. Furthermore, the team demonstrated that patients who utilized the reporting tool benefited from a longer median overall survival (31.2 months vs. 26 months).
“Patients receiving chemotherapy often have severe symptoms, but doctors and nurses are unaware of these symptoms up to half of the time,” explained lead study author Ethan M. Basch, University of North Carolina (NC, USA). “We show that using a web-based symptom reporting system that alerts the care team about problems leads to actions that alleviate suffering and improve patient outcomes.”
The findings are being further evaluated in a national multicenter implementation trial and the study is being trialled in community practices across the US.