April 23, 2009

Online tool helpful to cancer survivors

An online tool provides cancer survivors and family members with an easy-to-follow roadmap for managing their health, U.S. researchers said.

Ninety-seven percent of people who used OncoLife -- an online cancer survivorship care plan tool developed by physicians and nurses at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine Abramson Cancer Center -- rated their experience with it as good to excellent, and 84 percent said they planned to share their plan with their healthcare team, the researchers said.

Putting survivorship care plans in the hands of patients allows them to become educated about their risk, have well-informed discussions with their healthcare teams and be advocates for their own care, program nurse educator Carolyn Vachani said in a statement.

The researchers surveyed 3,343 people who created OncoLife care plans during an 18-month period in 2007 and 2008.

This tool empowers patients to open important dialogue with their healthcare providers to better understand the effects of their cancer treatment, OncoLink editor in chief Dr. James Metz said.

The findings were presented at the annual meeting of American Association for Cancer Research to be held in Denver.