Technology can help patients/survivors to be more positive, the women say
Three women at the age of 52, 54 and 58 take part as breast cancer survivors in the PERSIST clinical study at CHU de Liege in Belgium. They have been motivated to join by the belief that this would help future patients in their follow-up as cancer survivors because very limited solutions were offered to them. The three women share with no doubt that the patients are very well followed during their treatments at CHU de Liège. In addition to periodic contacts with their oncologists and specialist nurses, a liaison nurse can be reached by telephone whenever patients need an advice or a quick response to a medical question. Patients are even entitled to a few free appointments with an onco-psychologist. However, once the treatment is over, the patients feel left behind and on their own to deal with the side effects. Only follow-ups at the rate of one appointment every 3 months during the first year following the end of treatment reconnects them to the medical world. However, these follow-ups become widely spaced as the patients move away from the end of treatment. In this regards this clinical study promises better opportunities to stay in touch with the clinicians after the treatment ends.
Taking part in this study did not bring them any big changes in their day-to-day lives, the women say. Nevertheless, the three of them report that the PERSIST solution encourages them to move more. They noticed that even some days they walk a lot inside their home which reassures them because they are aware of the negative repercussions of inactivity on their health.
The mHealth application also made them aware of their state of mind, which previously was not necessarily a reflex for them. Indeed, all the three have a busy professional and family life where there is no much chance for questioning yourself.
When asked what they find interesting in the study, the women shared that PEERSIST helps them to take care of themselves. It allows them to become more autonomous by supervising themselves without the help of a relative. In addition, for the first time they can make the link between physiological parameters such as blood pressure and their mood.
Beside all the positive impacts described here above, the patients find that these types of technology help patients/survivors to be more positive. They also think that these technologies avoid patients to retreat into themselves.
The patients think that the study would be improved if the assessment of other health parameters would be added such as a vitamin and calories counter. A software that can count vitamin and calories by picturing a dish can do these assessments. They would appreciate to have a trustful system assessing sleep as well.
And finally, to remind that no technology can displace the real human contact, the three women share that they would like to have the opportunity to meet more often other patients having the same problems, because they believe that patients can try to solve some issues together.
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