Interactive App Helps Manage Prostate Cancer Treatment Symptoms

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Interactive app helps patients with prostate cancer manage their treatment-related symptoms.
Interactive app helps patients with prostate cancer manage their treatment-related symptoms.

An interactive application for real-time prostate cancer–related symptom management was associated with improved quality of life (QoL) and symptom burden measures, according to a paper published in the journal Supportive Care in Cancer.1

Radiotherapy for prostate cancer is associated with symptoms that can impact a patient's quality of life. Ideally, patients should be regularly assessed and given information for self-management activities.

Combining patient-reported outcomes (PRO) and information and communication technology (ICT), the investigators created the Interaktor application.  The interactive application allows for patients to report symptoms and concerns related to their prostate cancer treatment and real-time support from a nurse.

Kay Sundberg of the Division of Nursing at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, and colleagues sought to assess the impact of the application on patient-reported quality of life and symptom burden. Participants were to use the application to report symptoms during treatment and for 3 weeks following treatment. The participants were assessed for quality of life, prostate cancer symptom burden, and coping abilities.

The study included 66 participants in the intervention group using the Interaktor application and 64 patients in a control group. The 2 groups had similar characteristics and demographics with the exception of a lower level of education in the control group.

Overall, the intervention group reported less nausea and fatigue after RT. The burden of urinary symptoms, insomnia, and emotional functioning was reported to be less in the intervention group at the end of treatment and 3 months after RT.

The intervention group reported better urinary symptoms (P =.008), emotional functioning (P =.007), and insomnia (P =.017) than the control group mid-way through the study period after adjusting for education and coping abilities.

The authors conclude, “reporting symptoms via the application seems to have had a positive effect on symptom burden and [health-related QoL] in this group of patients with prostate cancer. An interactive application like Interaktor is unique, with its realtime communication enabling rapid management of symptoms when detected early.”1

Reference

1. Sundberg K, Wengström Y, Blomberg K, Hälleberg-nyman M, Frank C, Langius-eklöf A. Early detection and management of symptoms using an interactive smartphone application (Interaktor) during radiotherapy for prostate cancer. Support Care Cancer. 2017 Feb 24. doi: 10.1007/s00520-017-3625-8 [Epub ahead of print] 

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