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Journal Description

JMIR Cancer (JC) is a Pubmed- and ESCI-indexed, peer-reviewed journal with a focus on education, innovation and technology in cancer care, cancer survivorship and cancer research, as well as in participatory and patient-centred approaches. This journal also includes research on non-Internet approaches to improve cancer care and cancer research.

We invite submissions of original research, viewpoints, reviews, tutorials, case studies, and non-conventional articles (e.g. open patient education material and software resources that are not yet evaluated but free for others to use/implement). 

In our "Patients' Corner", we invite patients and survivors to submit short essays and viewpoints on all aspects of cancer, but in particular suggestions on how to improve the health care system, and suggestions for new technologies, applications and approaches (this section has no article processing fees).

JC is open access and all articles are published under a Creative Commons Attribution license. JC has been accepted for indexing in PubMed Central and Pubmed and Emerging Sources Citation Index (Clarivate).

In case of acceptance, an Article Processing Fee will be charged to cover copyediting and typesetting costs (see fee schedule).

 

Recent Articles:

  • Source: Adobe Stock; Copyright: Monkey Business; URL: https://stock.adobe.com/ca/images/worried-senior-woman-in-bed-at-night-suffering-with-insomnia/177401734?asset_id=177401734; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Assessing Breast Cancer Survivors’ Perceptions of Using Voice-Activated Technology to Address Insomnia: Feasibility Study Featuring Focus Groups and...

    Abstract:

    Background: Breast cancer survivors (BCSs) are a growing population with a higher prevalence of insomnia than women of the same age without a history of cancer. Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) has been shown to be effective in this population, but it is not widely available to those who need it. Objective: This study aimed to better understand BCSs’ experiences with insomnia and to explore the feasibility and acceptability of delivering CBT-I using a virtual assistant (Amazon Alexa). Methods: We first conducted a formative phase with 2 focus groups and 3 in-depth interviews to understand BCSs’ perceptions of insomnia as well as their interest in and comfort with using a virtual assistant to learn about CBT-I. We then developed a prototype incorporating participant preferences and CBT-I components and demonstrated it in group and individual settings to BCSs to evaluate acceptability, interest, perceived feasibility, educational potential, and usability of the prototype. We also collected open-ended feedback on the content and used frequencies to describe the quantitative data. Results: We recruited 11 BCSs with insomnia in the formative phase and 14 BCSs in the prototype demonstration. In formative work, anxiety, fear, and hot flashes were identified as causes of insomnia. After prototype demonstration, nearly 79% (11/14) of participants reported an interest in and perceived feasibility of using the virtual assistant to record sleep patterns. Approximately two-thirds of the participants thought lifestyle modification (9/14, 64%) and sleep restriction (9/14, 64%) would be feasible and were interested in this feature of the program (10/14, 71% and 9/14, 64%, respectively). Relaxation exercises were rated as interesting and feasible using the virtual assistant by 71% (10/14) of the participants. Usability was rated as better than average, and all women reported that they would recommend the program to friends and family. Conclusions: This virtual assistant prototype delivering CBT-I components by using a smart speaker was rated as feasible and acceptable, suggesting that this prototype should be fully developed and tested for efficacy in the BCS population. If efficacy is shown in this population, the prototype should also be adapted for other high-risk populations.

  • Source: Adobe Stock; Copyright: arctyo; URL: https://stock.adobe.com/ca/images/scientist-wear-blue-glove-holding-human-tissue-block-and-out-of-focus-modern-microscope-with-digital-camera-and-computer-monitor-show-glandular-image-medical-pathology-and-cytology-technology/328733368; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Expression of Genes Related to Lipid Handling and the Obesity Paradox in Melanoma: Database Analysis

    Abstract:

    Background: Publicly available genomic and transcriptomic data in searchable databases allow researchers to investigate specific medical issues in thousands of patients. Many studies have highlighted the role lipids play in cancer initiation and progression and reported nutritional interventions aimed at improving prognosis and survival. Therefore, there is an increasing interest in the role that fat intake may play in cancer. It is known that there is a relationship between BMI and survival in patients with cancer, and that there is an association between a high-fat diet and increased cancer risk. In some cancers, such as colorectal cancer, obesity and high fat intake are known to increase the risk of cancer initiation and progression. On the contrary, in patients undergoing treatment for melanoma, a higher BMI unexpectedly acts as a protective factor rather than a risk factor; this phenomenon is known as the obesity paradox. Objective: We aimed to identify the molecular mechanism underlying the obesity paradox, with the expectation that this could indicate new effective strategies to reduce risk factors and improve protective approaches. Methods: In order to determine the genes potentially involved in this process, we investigated the expression values of lipid-related genes in patients with melanoma or colorectal cancer. We used available data from 2990 patients from 3 public databases (IST [In Silico Transcriptomics] Online, GEO [Gene Expression Omnibus], and Oncomine) in an analysis that involved 3 consecutive validation steps. Of this group, data from 1410 individuals were analyzed in the IST Online database (208 patients with melanoma and 147 healthy controls, as well as 991 patients with colorectal cancer and 64 healthy controls). In addition, 45 melanoma, 18 nevi, and 7 healthy skin biopsies were analyzed in another database, GEO, to validate the IST Online data. Finally, using the Oncomine database, 318 patients with melanoma (312 controls) and 435 patients with colorectal cancer (445 controls) were analyzed. Results: In the first and second database investigated (IST Online and GEO, respectively), patients with melanoma consistently showed significantly (P<.001) lower expression levels of 4 genes compared to healthy controls: CD36, MARCO, FABP4, and FABP7. This strong reduction was not observed in patients with colorectal cancer. An additional analysis was carried out on a DNA-TCGA data set from the Oncomine database, further validating CD36 and FABP4. Conclusions: The observed lower expression of genes such as CD36 and FABP4 in melanoma may reduce the cellular internalization of fat and therefore make patients with melanoma less sensitive to a high dietary fat intake, explaining in part the obesity paradox observed in patients with melanoma.

  • Source: Image created by the Authors; Copyright: The Authors; URL: http://cancer.jmir.org/2020/1/e16469/; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Perceptions of eHealth-Enabled Physical Activity Interventions Among Cancer Survivors: Mixed Methods Study

    Abstract:

    Background: Achieving adequate levels of physical activity (PA) is especially important for cancer survivors to mitigate the side effects of cancer and its treatment as well as for other health benefits. Electronic health (eHealth)-based PA interventions may offer feasible alternatives to traditionally delivered programs and optimize physical recovery after a cancer diagnosis, but perspectives of cancer survivors on this new delivery medium have not been extensively explored. Objective: The overall aim was to explore participants’ perspectives of eHealth-enabled PA interventions to inform the design of a future intervention among cancer survivors. Methods: The study took place in a designated cancer center in Dublin, Ireland. A preceding questionnaire-based study was conducted primarily to establish interest in participating in subsequent eHealth-based studies. A follow-on focus group study was conducted to explore the concept of eHealth-based PA interventions for cancer survivors. The data were analyzed using thematic analysis. Results: The questionnaire-based study (N=102) indicated that participants had a high level of interest in participating in follow-on eHealth-based studies. The focus group study (n=23) indicated that, despite some trepidation, overall positivity was expressed by participants toward the concept of eHealth-based PA interventions. Four themes were generated: (1) Health impact, including PA as a barrier and as a motivating factor, (2) Education needs, which emphasized the need for integrated information about PA and to increase technical literacy, (3) Goal setting, which should be integrated within the technical specification as a motivating factor, and (4) Support needs, as well as the importance of personalized human interaction, in tandem with technology. Conclusions: Qualitative research at the pretrial phase adds value to the design of a complex intervention and is especially useful in an area such as eHealth. The findings highlighted an interest in participating in eHealth-focused research as well as barriers, training needs, and key design features that can be applied to optimize the design of future eHealth-based PA interventions in cancer.

  • A picture of a patient receiving care in an ambulatory oncology setting. Source: Michigan Medicine Media bank; Copyright: Michigan Photography; URL: https://mediabank.med.umich.edu/media/1_kh3okkk4; License: Creative Commons Attribution + Noncommercial (CC-BY-NC).

    Facilitators and Barriers to Recruiting Ambulatory Oncology Practices Into a Large Multisite Study: Mixed Methods Study

    Abstract:

    Background: Practice-based research is essential to generate the data necessary to understand outcomes in ambulatory oncology care. Although there is an increased interest in studying ambulatory oncology care, given the rising patient volumes and complexity in those settings, little guidance is available on how best to recruit ambulatory oncology practices for research. Objective: This paper aimed to describe the facilitators and barriers to recruiting ambulatory oncology practices into a large multisite study. Methods: Using a mixed methods design, we sought to recruit 52 ambulatory oncology practices that have participated in a state-wide quality improvement collaborative for the quantitative phase. We used 4 domains of the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR) to describe facilitators and barriers to recruitment. Results: We successfully recruited 28 of the 52 collaborative-affiliated practices, collecting survey data from 2223 patients and 297 clinicians. Intervention attributes included multimodal outreach and training activities to assure high fidelity to the data collection protocol. The implementation process was enhanced through interactive training and practice-assigned champions responsible for data collection. External context attributes that facilitated practice recruitment included partnership with a quality improvement collaborative and the inclusion of a staff member from the collaborative in our team. Key opinion leaders within each practice who could identify challenges to participation and propose flexible solutions represented internal context attributes. We also reported lessons learned during the recruitment process, which included navigating diverse approaches to human subjects protection policies and understanding that recruitment could be a negotiated process that took longer than anticipated, among others. Conclusions: Our experience provides other researchers with challenges to anticipate and possible solutions for common issues. Using the CFIR as a guide, we identified numerous recruitment barriers and facilitators and devised strategies to enhance recruitment efforts. In conclusion, researchers and clinicians can partner effectively to design and implement research protocols that ultimately benefit patients who are increasingly seeking care in ambulatory practices.

  • Source: The Authors / Placeit; Copyright: The Authors / Placeit; URL: https://placeit.net/c/mockups/stages/mockup-of-a-young-woman-holding-an-htc-one-m8?customG_0=q80czvead6; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Use of Mental Health Apps by Patients With Breast Cancer in the United States: Pilot Pre-Post Study

    Abstract:

    Background: Nearly half of the patients with breast cancer experience clinically significant mental distress within the first year of receiving their cancer diagnosis. There is an urgent need to identify scalable and cost-efficient ways of delivering empirically supported mental health interventions to patients with breast cancer. Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of in-clinic recruitment for a mobile phone app study and to evaluate the usability and preliminary impact of a suite of mental health apps (IntelliCare) with phone coaching on psychosocial distress symptoms in patients recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Methods: This pilot study adopted a within-subject, 7-week pre-post study design. A total of 40 patients with breast cancer were recruited at a US National Cancer Institute–designated clinical cancer center. Self-reported distress (Patient Health Questionnaire-4) and mood symptoms (Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System depression and anxiety scales) were assessed at baseline and postintervention. App usability was assessed at postintervention. Results: The minimum recruitment threshold was met. There was a significant decrease in general distress symptoms, as well as symptoms of depression and anxiety, from baseline to postintervention. Overall, participants reported high levels of ease of app use and learning. Scores for app usefulness and satisfaction were reinforced by some qualitative feedback suggesting that tailoring the apps more for patients with breast cancer could enhance engagement. Conclusions: There is a dire need for scalable, supportive interventions in cancer. The results from this study inform how scalable mobile phone–delivered programs with additional phone support can be used to support patients with breast cancer.

  • Source: Shutterstock; Copyright: Ocskay Mark; URL: https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/picture-elderly-woman-her-caregiver-530552254; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Use of an Abbreviated Geriatric Screening Tool in the Assessment of Older Cancer Patients’ Functional Status, Dependency, and Comorbidities:...

    Abstract:

    Background: Malignancies are the leading cause of disease burden in Australia, comprising 19% of total diseases. Approximately 1 in 4 men and 1 in 6 women die from malignancies by 85 years of age, with patients aged 65 years and older contributing to 58% of diagnoses and 76% of cancer mortality. In the context of malignancy-related disease and age-related degeneration, there is a need for comprehensive assessment of older patients to plan for appropriate management and predict prognosis. The utility of available comprehensive geriatric assessment tools has been limited in routine practice because of their time-consuming nature, despite their informing clearer understanding of patients’ functional status, better clinical decision making, prevention of unpredictable admissions and emergency department overload, and support services planning. Though there are several promising tools available, there is a lack of literature on tools that can comprehensively assess functional status in an expedited fashion. Objective: This study aimed to document functional status and comorbidities among a geriatric oncology patient cohort attending a regionally located, dedicated cancer care facility, using the completed Adelaide tool assessments. This study documents cohort characteristics, including sociodemographics, malignancy type, and comorbidities. Secondarily, we observed the utility of an abridged functional assessment in the multidisciplinary team (MDT) management of older cancer patients. Methods: The study comprised a facility-based cross-sectional audit of results obtained from a screening tool administered to patients aged 65 years and older and attending an outpatient medical oncology clinic for management of cancer from late 2015 to 2017. Data relating to five domains were collected, including instrumental activities of daily living, activities of daily living, performance status, unintended weight loss, and exhaustion. Sociodemographic and disease-related factors were summarized as frequencies with percentages or mean with SD. Distribution of functional status based on sociodemographic characteristics, living status, disease-related factors, and comorbidities was analyzed using a chi-square test. Cumulative dependencies in the five domains were identified, and patients were classified as fit, vulnerable, or frail. Supplementary review of presentation notes for cases discussed at MDT meetings was undertaken to identify discrepancies. Results: A majority of the study population showed poor functional status, with 88.7% (243/274) categorized as vulnerable and 8.4% (23/274) as frail. Exhaustion and unintended weight loss were identified as the most common contributors to dependency. Polypharmacy was strongly associated with decreased functional status. Conclusions: The outcomes of this study are congruent with the existence of dependency in various domains, and with similar research in geriatric oncology. The Adelaide tool provided a useful basis for MDT discussion and management, where cases were referred to the MDT. We recommend further examination of the tool’s utility and impact in clinical decision making, and the distribution of dependencies in a rural cohort compared with metropolitan patients.

  • TOC image. Source: Calm; Copyright: Calm; URL: https://www.calm.com/; License: Licensed by the authors.

    Cancer Patients’ and Survivors’ Perceptions of the Calm App: Cross-Sectional Descriptive Study

    Abstract:

    Background: There is a need for tools to decrease cancer patients’ and survivors’ long-term symptom burden. Complementary strategies, such as meditation, can accompany pharmacologic therapy to improve symptoms. Although support programs with targeted content have wider reach, higher adherence, and greater impact, there are no consumer-based meditation apps designed specifically for cancer. Objective: This study aimed to gather information to advise the development of a cancer-specific meditation app in a small convenience sample of cancer patients and survivors who currently use the Calm app. Methods: Adult cancer patients and survivors who are Calm users (N=82) were recruited through the Daily Calm Facebook page. Participants completed a Web-based survey related to Calm app use and satisfaction, interest in and ideas for a cancer-specific Calm app, and demographic characteristics. Open-ended responses were inductively coded. Results: Participants were aged between 18 and 72 years (mean 48.60 years, SD 15.20), mostly female (77/82, 94%), white (65/79, 82%), and non-Hispanic (70/75, 93%), and reported using Calm at least 5 times per week (49/82, 60%). Although rates of satisfaction with current Calm components were high (between 65/82, 79% and 51/81, 63%), only 49% (40/82) of participants used guided meditations that they felt specifically helped with their cancer-related symptoms and survivorship, and 40% (33/82) would prefer more cancer-related content, with guided meditations for cancer-specific anxieties (eg, fear of recurrence; n=15) and coping with strong emotions (n=12) being the most common suggestions. A majority of participants (51/82, 62%) reported that they would be interested in becoming a member of a Calm cancer community (eg, in-app discussion boards: 41/46, 89%; and social media communities: 35/42, 83%). Almost half of the participants (37/82, 45%) reported that they would benefit from features that tracked symptoms in concurrence with app usage, but respondents were divided on whether this information should be shared with health care providers through the app (49/82, 60% would share). Conclusions: Responses suggest ways in which the current Calm app could be adapted to better fit cancer patients’ and survivors’ needs and preferences, including adding cancer-specific content, increasing the amount of content focusing on coping with strong emotions, developing communities for Calm users who are cancer patients and survivors, and including features that track cancer-related symptoms. Given differences in opinions about which features were desirable or would be useful, there is a clear need for future cancer-specific apps to be customizable (eg, ability to turn different features on or off). Although future research should address these topics in larger, more diverse samples, these data will serve as a starting point for the development of cancer-specific meditation apps and provide a framework for evaluating their effects.

  • Source: Freepik; Copyright: jcomp; URL: https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/young-woman-who-just-woke-up-holding-phone_5896787.htm#page=1&query=woman%20phone%20sad&position=4; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    A Novel Mobile Phone App Intervention With Phone Coaching to Reduce Symptoms of Depression in Survivors of Women’s Cancer: Pre-Post Pilot Study

    Abstract:

    Background: Psychological distress is a major issue among survivors of women’s cancer who face numerous barriers to accessing in-person mental health treatments. Mobile phone app–based interventions are scalable and have the potential to increase access to mental health care among survivors of women’s cancer worldwide. Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the acceptability and preliminary efficacy of a novel app-based intervention with phone coaching in a sample of survivors of women’s cancer. Methods: In a single-group, pre-post, 6-week pilot study in the United States, 28 survivors of women’s cancer used iCanThrive, a novel app intervention that teaches skills for coping with stress and enhancing well-being, with added phone coaching. The primary outcome was self-reported symptoms of depression (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale). Emotional self-efficacy and sleep disruption were also assessed at baseline, 6-week postintervention, and 4 weeks after the intervention period. Feedback obtained at the end of the study focused on user experience of the intervention. Results: There were significant decreases in symptoms of depression and sleep disruption from baseline to postintervention. Sleep disruption remained significantly lower at 4-week postintervention compared with baseline. The iCanThrive app was launched a median of 20.5 times over the intervention period. The median length of use was 2.1 min. Of the individuals who initiated the intervention, 87% (20/23) completed the 6-week intervention. Conclusions: This pilot study provides support for the acceptability and preliminary efficacy of the iCanThrive intervention. Future work should validate the intervention in a larger randomized controlled study. It is important to develop scalable interventions that meet the psychosocial needs of different cancer populations. The modular structure of the iCanThrive app and phone coaching could impact a large population of survivors of women’s cancer.

  • Source: freepik; Copyright: pressfoto; URL: https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/unrecognizable-doctor-extending-digital-tab-anonymous-patient-fill-questionnaire_5699298.htm#page=1&query=doctor%20survey&position=2; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Awareness of the Signs, Symptoms, and Risk Factors of Cancer and the Barriers to Seeking Help in the UK: Comparison of Survey Data Collected Online and...

    Abstract:

    Background: Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, causing an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018. Low cancer symptom awareness has been associated with poor cancer survival for all cancers combined. The Cancer Awareness Measure (CAM) is a validated, face-to-face survey used since 2008 to measure the UK public’s awareness of the symptoms and risk factors of cancer as well as the barriers to seeking help. Objective: The aim of this study is to explore whether online data collection can produce a representative sample of the UK population, compare awareness of cancer signs and risk factors and the barriers to seeking help between data collected online and face-to-face, and examine the relationships between awareness and demographic variables. Methods: Differences in awareness of cancer signs, symptoms, and risk factors among samples were explored while adjusting for demographic differences (age, gender, ethnicity, educational level, marital status, and country of residence) to distinguish the effect of data collection method. Multivariate logistic regression models were used to calculate adjusted odds ratios for recall and recognition of signs and symptoms, risk factors, and barriers to seeking help. Results: A total of 4075 participants completed the CAM, 20% (n=819) via face-to-face interviews and 80% online (n=3256; agency A: n=1190; agency B: n=2066). Comparisons of data collected using face-to-face interviews and online surveys revealed minor differences between samples. Both methods provided representative samples of the UK population with slight differences in awareness of signs, symptoms, and risk factors and frequency of help-seeking barriers reported. Conclusions: These findings support a move to online data collection for the CAM. The flexibility afforded will enable the CAM to explore a wider range of issues related to the prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment of cancer.

  • The Kræftværket app. Source: Image created by the Authors; Copyright: The Authors; URL: http://cancer.jmir.org/2019/2/e15008/; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Usability of a Mobile Phone App Aimed at Adolescents and Young Adults During and After Cancer Treatment: Qualitative Study

    Abstract:

    Background: Adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer patients are seldom involved in the process of testing cancer-related apps. As such, knowledge about youth-specific content, functionalities, and design is sparse. As a part of a co-creation process of developing the mobile phone app Kræftværket, AYAs in treatment for cancer and in follow-up participated in a usability think-aloud test of a prototype of the app. Thus, the app was initiated, created, and evaluated by AYAs with cancer experience. Objective: The aim of this study was to explore the results of a think-aloud test administered to see how the prototype of the app Kræftværket was used by AYAs in treatment for cancer and in follow-up, and to investigate the strengths and weaknesses of the app. Methods: A total of 20 AYA cancer patients aged 16 to 29 years (n=10 on treatment, n=10 in follow-up) were provided with the first version of the co-created mobile phone app Kræftværket during a 6-week test period (April-May 2018). After the test period, 15 participated in individual usability think-aloud tests. The tests were video-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed using a thematic analysis approach. Results: The thematic analysis led to the following themes and subthemes: navigation (subthemes: intuition, features, buttons, home page, profile), visual and graphic design (subthemes: overview, text and colors, photos, videos, YouTube), and usefulness (subthemes: notifications, posts, adding). The analysis identified gender differences in app utilization—female participants seemed to be more familiar with parts of the app. The app seemed to be more relevant to AYAs receiving treatment due to app functions such as tracking symptoms and searching for relevant information. Lack of notifications and incorrect counting of posts were perceived as barriers to using the app. Conclusions: Usability testing is crucial to meet the needs of the AYA target audience. AYA cancer apps should preferably be relevant, targeted, and unique, and include a tracking function and AYA-produced videos. Notifications and correct marking and ordering of posts are critical to make apps engaging and dynamic. Further research is recommended to evaluate the Kræftværket app with the input of more AYAs.

  • Source: Freepik; Copyright: tirachardz; URL: https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/young-asian-doctor-woman-talking-holding-hand-women-patient-sick-bed_4014707.htm#page=1&query=woman%20hospital&position=38; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Evaluation of a Technology-Based Survivor Care Plan for Breast Cancer Survivors: Pre-Post Pilot Study

    Abstract:

    Background: As of 2016, almost 16 million individuals were cancer survivors, including over 3.5 million survivors of breast cancer. Because cancer survivors are living longer and have unique health care needs, the Institute of Medicine proposed a survivor care plan as a way to alleviate the many medical, emotional, and care coordination problems of survivors. Objective: This pilot study for breast cancer survivors was undertaken to: (1) examine self-reported changes in knowledge, confidence, and activation from before receipt to after receipt of a survivor care plan; and (2) describe survivor preferences for, and satisfaction with, a technology-based survivor care plan. Methods: A single group pretest-posttest design was used to study breast cancer survivors in an academic cancer center and a community cancer center during their medical visit after they completed chemotherapy. The intervention was a technology-based survivor care plan. Measures were taken before, immediately after, and 1 month after receipt of the survivor care plan. Results: A total of 38 breast cancer survivors agreed to participate in the study. Compared to baseline levels before receipt of the survivor care plan, participants reported increased knowledge both immediately after its receipt at the academic center (P<.001) and the community center (P<.001) as well as one month later at the academic center (P=.002) and the community center (P<.001). Participants also reported increased confidence immediately following receipt of the survivor care plan at the academic center (P=.63) and the community center (P=.003) and one month later at both the academic center (P=.63) and the community center (P<.001). Activation was increased from baseline to post-survivor care plan at both the academic center (P=.05) and community center (P<.001) as well as from baseline to 1-month follow-up at the academic center (P=.56) and the community center (P<.001). Overall, community center participants had lower knowledge, confidence, and activation at baseline compared with academic center participants. Overall, 22/38 (58%) participants chose the fully functional electronic survivor care plan. However, 12/23 (52%) in the community center group chose the paper version compared to 4/15 (27%) in the academic center group. Satisfaction with the format (38/38 participants) and the content (37/38 participants) of the survivor care plan was high for both groups. Conclusions: This study provides evidence that knowledge, confidence, and activation of survivors were associated with implementation of the survivor care plan. This research agrees with previous research showing that cancer survivors found the technology-based survivor care plan to be acceptable. More research is needed to determine the optimal approach to survivor care planning to ensure that all cancer survivors can benefit from it.

  • Source: Unsplash; Copyright: FitNish Media; URL: https://unsplash.com/photos/jFzOZTf-9Yk; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Feasibility of an Interactive Patient Portal for Monitoring Physical Activity, Remote Symptom Reporting, and Patient Education in Oncology: Qualitative Study

    Abstract:

    Background: Digital health interventions, such as the use of patient portals, have been shown to offer benefits to a range of patients including those with a diagnosis of cancer. Objective: This study aimed to explore the participant experience and perception of using an interactive Web-based portal for monitoring physical activity, remote symptom reporting, and delivering educational components. Methods: Participants who were currently under treatment or had recently completed intensive treatment for cancer were recruited to three cohorts and invited to join a Web-based portal to enhance their physical activity. Cohort 1 received Web portal access and an activity monitor; cohort 2 had additional summative messaging; and cohort 3 had additional personalized health coaching messaging. Following the 10-week intervention, participants were invited to participate in a semistructured interview. Interview recordings were transcribed and evaluated using qualitative thematic analysis. Results: A total of 17 semistructured interviews were carried out. Participants indicated that using the Web portal was feasible. Personalized messaging improved participant perceptions of the value of the intervention. There was a contrast between cohorts and levels of engagement with increasing health professional contact leading to an increase in engagement. Educational material needs to be tailored to the participants’ cancer treatment status, health literacy, and background. Conclusions: Participants reported an overall positive experience using the Web portal and that personalized messaging positively impacted on their health behaviors. Future studies should focus more on design of interventions, ensuring appropriate tailoring of information and personalization of behavioral support messaging.

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