There is an increased interest in smartphone applications as a tool for delivery of health-care information. There have been no studies which evaluated the availability and content of cancer-related smartphone applications. This study aims to identify and analyze cancer-related applications available on the Apple iTunes platform. The Apple iTunes store was searched for cancer-related smartphone applications on July 29, 2011. The content of the applications was analyzed for cost, type of information, validity, and involvement of health-care agencies. A total of 77 relevant applications were identified. There were 24.6 % apps uploaded by health-care agencies, and 36 % of the apps were aimed at health-care workers. Among the apps, 55.8 % provided scientifically validated data. The difference in scientific validity between the apps aimed at general population versus health-care professionals was statistically significant (P < 0.01). Seventy-nine percent of the apps uploaded by health-care agencies were found to be backed by scientific data. There is lack of cancer-related applications with scientifically backed data. There is a need to improve the accountability and reliability of cancer-related smartphone applications and encourage participation by health-care agencies to ensure patient safety.
To our knowledge, ours is the first study to report on Facebook advertising as an exclusive mechanism for recruiting women ages 35–49 years residing in the USA into a health-related research study. We directed our survey to women ages 35–49 years who resided in the USA exclusively using three Facebook advertisements. Women were then redirected to our survey site. There were 20,568,960 women on Facebook that met the eligibility criteria. The three ads resulted in 899,998 impressions with a reach of 374,225 women. Of the women reached, 280 women (0.075 %) clicked the ad. Of the women who clicked the ad, nine women (3.2 %) proceeded past the introductory page. Social networking, and in particular Facebook, is an innovative venue for recruiting participants for research studies. Challenges include developing an ad to foster interest without biasing the sample, and motivating women who click the ad to complete the survey. There is still much to learn about this potential method of recruitment.
Skin cancer is one of the most prevalent cancers, worldwide, which happens more among those with more sunlight exposure like farmers. The aim of this study was to explore the determinants of skin cancer preventive behaviors (SCPBs) among rural farmers using Protection Motivation Theory (PMT). In this cross-sectional study, multistage random sampling was employed to enroll 238 farmers referring to rural health houses (HH) in Chaldoran County, Iran. A valid and reliable instrument based on PMT variables was used. Significant correlations were found between all PMT variables with SCPBs (p 0.05) and PMT constructs (p < 0.001) explained 3 and 63.6 % of the observed variance in Protection Motivation, respectively. Also, no significant effect was found on SCPBs by demographic variables, in the first block (∆R 2 = 0.025); however, in the second block, Perceived Susceptibility (p = 0.000), Rewards (p = 0.022), Self-efficacy (p = 0.000), and Response Cost (p = 0.001) were significant predictors of SCPBs (∆R 2 = 0.432). Health care providers may consider PMT as a framework for developing educational interventions aiming at improving SCPBs among rural farmers.
Adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer patients under 40 should be made aware of their fertility risks and preservation options throughout their care. However, discussions on fertility preservation (FP) do not routinely occur. With a dearth of FP resources, oncology providers may lack knowledge around FP. Thus, informational needs can be unmet, leading to anxiety and distress in patients. Provision of pertinent and timely information can help patients cope better with their diagnosis. FP pamphlets were developed for men and women with cancer. A cross-sectional in-house survey, using convenience sampling, evaluated the pamphlets’ effectiveness and measured ease of understanding, acceptability, and perceived utility. Patients and partners were also asked to provide recommendations and complete the Short Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults (S-TOFHLA) measuring health literacy level. This helps determine if health literacy influences perception of pamphlet effectiveness. All participants (n = 56) reviewed both pamphlets. Fifty-four participants (96 %) found the pamphlet for men useful, while 29 participants (52 %) improved their male fertility knowledge. The pamphlet for women was useful for 52 participants (93 %) and improved knowledge in 35 (63 %) of them. Although the majority of participants had adequate health literacy (98 %), there was insufficient sample diversity to determine if health literacy influenced the pamphlet’s effectiveness. Participants indicated preference in receiving verbal (73 %) and written (66 %) information over watching videos or in-class education. They recommended including fertility clinics, financial resources, and statistics in the brochures. These FP pamphlets were concluded as effective in supporting patients in making FP decisions.
Well-designed smartphone apps can potentially help in enhancing adherence to oral anticancer medications (OAMs). The objective of this study was to evaluate patients’ perception on inclusion of various adherence-enhancing strategies as features of an app and their interest in using such app. A cross-sectional survey was conducted at the National Cancer Centre Singapore. A structured self-administered questionnaire was used to collect data from patients taking OAMs. Final analysis was based on 409 surveys and most of the respondents were female (291, 71.1%), Chinese (332, 81.2%), married (296, 72.4%) and breast cancer patients (211, 51.6%). Close to two-thirds of respondents rated medication information (65.0%), disease information (60.2%) and side effect self-management (60.2%) features as having the highest level of importance in an adherence app. Three hundred thirty-two (81.2%) of the respondents owned a smartphone, among which 92 (27.7%) reported using health-related apps. From respondents with smartphones, 219 (66.0%) were interested in using an app for OAM adherence. Age 65 and older compared to 21–54 years old (adjusted OR = 0.34; 95% CI = 0.15–0.76) and current use of a health app (adjusted OR = 1.91; 95% CI = 1.07–3.41) were significant predictors of interest to adopt an adherence app. In conclusion, patients value the inclusion of educational and behavioural interventions in adherence apps. Developers of adherence apps should consider including tools for side effect self-management and provision of information to educate patients on their medications and disease condition.
Patient navigation is increasingly being directed at adolescent and young adult (AYA) patients. This study provides a novel description of differences in AYA cancer patients’ preferences for navigation services by developmental age at diagnosis.Eligible patients were diagnosed with cancer between ages 15 and 39 and had completed at least 1 month of treatment. Between October 2015 and January 2016, patients completed semi-structured interviews about navigation preferences. Summary statistics of demographic and cancer characteristics were generated. Differences in patient navigation preferences were examined through qualitative analyses by developmental age at diagnosis.AYAs were interviewed (adolescents 15–18 years N = 8; emerging adults 19–25 years N = 8; young adults 26–39 years N = 23). On average, participants were 4.5 years from diagnosis. All age groups were interested in face-to-face connection with a navigator and using multiple communication platforms (phone, text, email) to follow-up. Three of the most frequently cited needs were insurance, finances, and information. AYAs differed in support, healthcare, and resource preferences by developmental age; only adolescents preferred educational support. While all groups preferred financial and family support, the specific type of assistance (medical versus living expenses, partner/spouse, child, or parental assistance) varied by age group.AYAs with cancer have different preferences for patient navigation by developmental age at diagnosis. AYAs are not a one-size-fits-all population, and navigation programs can better assist AYAs when services are targeted to appropriate developmental ages. Future research should examine fertility and navigation preferences by time since diagnosis. While some navigation needs to span the AYA age range, other needs are specific to developmental age.
Embedding online learning within higher education can provide engaging, cost-effective, interactive and flexible education. By evaluating the impact, outcomes and pedagogical influence of online cancer and education, future curricula can be shaped and delivered by higher education providers to better meet learner, health care provider and educational commissioners’ requirements for enhanced patient care and service delivery needs. Using the Kirkpatrick’s four-level model of educational evaluation, a systematic review of the effectiveness of online cancer education for nurses and allied health professionals was conducted. From 101 articles, 30 papers were included in the review. Educational theory is not always employed. There is an absence of longitudinal studies to examine impact; an absence of reliability and/or validity testing of measures, limited experimental designs taking account of power and few attempts to mitigate bias. There is, however, an emerging innovative use of mobile/spaced learning techniques. Evidence for clinical and educational effectiveness is weak offering insights into experiences and participant perceptions rather than concrete quantitative data and patient-reported outcomes. More pedagogical research is merited to inform effective evaluation of online cancer education, which incorporates and demonstrates a longer-term impact.
The objective of this study was to assess the differences in HPV-related knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs among African American and non-Hispanic white women and to determine their communication preferences for cancer-related information. Data was obtained from the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) 2014 Health Interview National Trends Survey (HINTS), a cross-sectional survey of US adults 18years of age or older. Descriptive statistics, bivariate, and multivariate logistic regression were used to identify differences in awareness and knowledge. Data was collected in 2014 and analyzed in 2016. HPV awareness (71 vs. 77%) and knowledge that HPV causes cervical cancer (64 vs. 81%) were significantly lower among blacks. Additionally, there were significant disparities in awareness of the HPV vaccine (66 vs. 79%), with only 25% of Black women indicating that they or a family member was recommended the HPV vaccine by a health care professional. There were also differences in cancer communication preferences. Blacks were more likely than Whites to trust cancer information from family (OR 2.7, confidence interval [CI] 0.725-10.048), television (OR 3.0, 95% [CI] 0.733-12.296), government health agencies (OR 5.8, [CI] 0.639-52.818), and religious organizations (OR 6.4, 95% [CI] 1.718-23.932). Study results indicate that racial/ethnic differences exist in HPV knowledge/awareness and cancer communication preferences. These results highlight the need to increase HPV prevention and education efforts using methods that are tailored to Black women. To address HPV/cervical cancer disparities, future interventions should utilize preferred communication outlets to effectively increase HPV knowledge and vaccine awareness.
An increasing number of patients and relatives use the Internet to get additional or initial information about their disease. The aim of the study was to reevaluate the Internet usage among German cancer patients. Using a standardized questionnaire, we did an anonymous survey on patients attending a series of lectures on complementary medicine in 2014. We received 255 questionnaires. Nearly 80 % of the participants stated that they used the Internet to read up information about health or medicine issues. There was no significant difference regarding gender, age, or status (patient, current treatment/former treatment; relatives). Most users use the Internet in order to get additional information after a consultation with a physician (82.2 %). Important qualities from the view of the patient are a trustable source (65.3 %), information from experts (59.6 %), and actual information (52.8 %). There is an increasing number of patients in Germany looking for information in the Internet mostly in the intention of getting additional information. Yet, as the quality of information is heterogeneous, false information may lead to distrust in the doctor or wrong decision-making. Accordingly, organizations working on improving quality of cancer care should engage in conveying comprehensive and actual information adapted to the needs of patients. Physicians should know trustful websites for referral of patients.
Survivorship care plans (SCPs) are intended to educate survivors and providers about survivors’ transition from cancer treatment to follow-up care. Using a survey of 23 cancer programs in the South Atlantic United States, we (1) describe the prevalence and barriers to SCP use and (2) assess relationships between SCP use and (a) barriers and (b) cancer program characteristics. Most cancer programs (86 %) reported some SCP use; however, less than a quarter of cancer programs’ providers had ever used an SCP. The majority (61 %) began using SCPs because of professional societies’ recommendations. Key barriers to SCP use were insufficient organizational resources (75 %) and systems for SCP use. We found patterns in SCP use across location, program type, and professional society membership. Most cancer programs have adopted SCPs, but use remains inconsistent. Efforts to promote SCP use should address barriers, particularly in cancer programs that are susceptible to barriers to SCP use.
Cancer patients and their caregivers are increasingly using social media as a platform to share cancer experiences, connect with support, and exchange cancer-related information. Yet, little is known about the nature and scientific accuracy of cancer-related information exchanged on social media. We conducted a content analysis of 12 months of data from 18 publically available Facebook Pages hosted by parents of children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (N = 15,852 posts) and extracted all exchanges of medically-oriented cancer information. We systematically coded for themes in the nature of cancer-related information exchanged on personal Facebook Pages and two oncology experts independently evaluated the scientific accuracy of each post. Of the 15,852 total posts, 171 posts contained medically-oriented cancer information. The most frequent type of cancer information exchanged was information related to treatment protocols and health services use (35%) followed by information related to side effects and late effects (26%), medication (16%), medical caregiving strategies (13%), alternative and complementary therapies (8%), and other (2%). Overall, 67% of all cancer information exchanged was deemed medically/scientifically accurate, 19% was not medically/scientifically accurate, and 14% described unproven treatment modalities. These findings highlight the potential utility of social media as a cancer-related resource, but also indicate that providers should focus on recommending reliable, evidence-based sources to patients and caregivers.
The way that bad news is disclosed to a cancer patient has a crucial impact on physician-patient cooperation and trust. Consensus-based guidelines provide widely accepted tools for disclosing unfavorable information. In oncology, the most popular one is called the SPIKES protocol. A 17-question survey was administered to a group of 226 patients with cancer (mean age 59.6 years) in order to determine a level of SPIKES implementation during first cancer disclosure. In our assessment, the patients felt that the highest compliance with the SPIKES protocol was with Setting up (70.6%), Knowledge (72.8%), and Emotions (75.3%). The lowest was with the Perception (27.7%), Invitation (30.4%), and Strategy & Summary (56.9%) parts. There could be improvement with each aspect of the protocol, but especially in Perception, Invitation, and Strategy & Summary. The latter is really important and must be done better. Older patients felt the doctors’ language was more comprehensible (r = 0.17; p = 0.011). Patients’ satisfaction of their knowledge about the disease and follow-up, regarded as an endpoint, was insufficient. Privacy was important in improving results (p < 0.01). In practice, the SPIKES protocol is implemented in a satisfactory standard, but it can be improved in each area, especially in Perception, Invitation, and Summary. It is suggested that more training should be done in undergraduate and graduate medical education and the effectiveness of the disclosure continue to be evaluated and improved.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) provides pertinent information about cancer prevention, treatment, and research advancements that is considered objective and accurate. NCI’s presence on social media is an example of a growing effort in promoting and facilitating audience engagement with evidence-based information about health and cancer. However, it is unknown what strategies are most effective for engaging audiences via this communication platform. To evaluate this important question, we analyzed data on posts, associated comments, and meta-data from official NCI Facebook page between July 2010 and February 2015 (end of data collection). Results show that audience engagement is associated with the format of cancer-related social media posts. Specifically, posts with photos received significantly more likes, comments, and shares than videos, links, and status updates. The findings have important implications for how social media can be more effectively utilized to promote public engagement with important public health issues.
The objective of this study was to determine effective teaching strategies and methods of delivery for patient education (PE). A systematic review was conducted and reviews with or without meta-analyses, which examined teaching strategies and methods of delivery for PE, were included. Teaching strategies identified are traditional lectures, discussions, simulated games, computer technology, written material, audiovisual sources, verbal recall, demonstration, and role playing. Methods of delivery focused on how to deliver the teaching strategies. Teaching strategies that increased knowledge, decreased anxiety, and increased satisfaction included computer technology, audio and videotapes, written materials, and demonstrations. Various teaching strategies used in combination were similarly successful. Moreover, structured-, culturally appropriate- and patient-specific teachings were found to be better than ad hoc teaching or generalized teaching. Findings provide guidance for establishing provincial standards for the delivery of PE. Recommendations concerning the efficacy of the teaching strategies and delivery methods are provided.
The main purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the education system using social media. Eight educational video clips were developed instructing the viewer on cancer-related issues such as prevention, treatment, and survivorship. Each video was made with participation of medical professors and posted on a YouTube channel. A mobile phone application was produced containing a scheduler function, introduction of a community cancer center program, and cancer information. A medical blog was established to provide stationary materials such as images and articles. Descriptive analysis was done by Google analytics. From May of 2014 to June of 2016, 15,247 total views were recorded on the YouTube channel, and the average view duration was about 3 min. The most popular video was about chemotherapy treatment; 5409 (36%) people watched this video, and 3615 (23.5%) people viewed a video on balanced dietary habits. As well as South Korea, 1,113 (7%) views were confirmed in the United States and 175 (1%) in Japan. The equipment used to watch the contents were mobile phones (59%), laptops (33%), and tablets (6%). Five hundred people installed the smartphone application from March of 2015 to July of 2016. Three hundred eighty-three medical contents were posted on the blog since March of 2015. Cancer education is necessary to address the education needs of patients with cancer and their caregivers. Education based on social media could be an effective method that reaches beyond geographical boundaries.
The process and technicalities of radiation therapy (RT) for cancer treatment can be challenging for patients to understand as RT involves complex procedures, highly specialised equipment, and radiation itself has limited sensory characteristics. Hence, it is imperative that education programs are specifically planned and developed to suit the needs of patients, address radiation as an entity and include salient visual aids. In this context, the Virtual Environment for Radiotherapy Training (VERT) system, primarily created for RT practitioner simulation, may provide unique opportunities for patient education. This article reports on patient feedback of a newly developed breast cancer patient education program, which integrates the VERT system as the focal education tool. The education program content included RT immobilisation, simulation, planning and treatment components, along with an introduction to the VERT system. Nineteen breast cancer patients (n = 19) completed an evaluation questionnaire at the completion of their VERT education program. Open-ended questions were used to detect the least and most useful aspects of the education session. Patient feedback indicated a high regard for the comprehensiveness of the education program, with particular acknowledgement of the three dimensional visual features of the VERT system. It is proposed that VERT’s high visual impact should be exploited in tailored patient education programs in order to obtain maximum patient engagement and make significant gains in effective knowledge transfer.
Lack of activation in self-care can compromise a patient’s ability to monitor and manage cancer treatment-related side effects, such as chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN). The web-based Carevive® Care Planning System (CPS) was developed to promote evidence-based symptom assessment and treatment by enhancing patients’ involvement in their own care. The purpose of this single-arm, pre-test/post-test, prospective study was to examine whether the CPS can promote patient activation in CIPN symptom assessment and management. Seventy-five women with breast cancer receiving neurotoxic chemotherapy were recruited from a Comprehensive Cancer Center. Using standardized neuropathy measures embedded within the CPS, patients reported their CIPN symptoms over three consecutive clinical visits and completed the Patient Activation Measure (PAM) at the first and third visits. Mean changes in PAM scores between visits were compared using repeated measure analysis of covariance, adjusting for age. At baseline, patients were diagnosed with cancer within the past year (94.7%), highly activated (85% Level III/IV), and had a mean age of 51.3. PAM scores improved significantly from 67.15 (SD = 13.5; range = 47–100) at visit one to 69.29 (SD = 16.18; range = 47–100) (p = 0.02) (n = 62) at visit three. However, patients perceived the CPS to be of minimal value because it solely focused on CIPN and, for many, CIPN was not severe enough to motivate them to seek out symptom management information. Further research is needed to assess the utility of the CPS in promoting activation in the assessment and management of varying cancer treatment-related symptoms.
Church-based interventions have been used to reach racial/ethnic minorities. In order to develop effective programs, we conducted a comprehensive systematic review of faith-based cancer prevention studies (2005~2016) to examine characteristics and promising strategies. Combination terms “church or faith-based or religion,” “intervention or program,” and “cancer education or lifestyle” were used in searching the five major databases: CINAHL; ERIC; Health Technology Assessments; MEDLINE; and PsycInfo. A total of 20 studies met study criteria. CDC’s Community Guide was used to analyze and review group interventions. Analyses were organized by two racial groups: African American (AA) and Latino/Hispanic American groups. Results showed most studies reviewed focused on breast cancer alone or in combination with other cancers. Studies of Latino/Hispanic groups targeted more on uninsured, Medicare, or Medicaid individuals, whereas AA studies generally did not include specific insurance criteria. The sample sizes of the AA studies were generally larger. The majority of these studies reviewed used pre-post, posttest only with control group, or quasi-experience designs. The Health Belief Model was the most commonly used theory in both groups. Community-based participatory research and empowerment/ecological frameworks were also used frequently in the Latino/Hispanic studies. Small media and group education were the top two most popular intervention strategies in both groups. Although one-on-one strategy was used in some Latino studies, neither group used reducing client out-of-pocket costs strategy. Client reminders could also be used more in both groups as well. Current review showed church-based cancer education programs were effective in changing knowledge, but not always screening utilization. Results show faith-based cancer educational interventions are promising. To maximize intervention impact, future studies might consider using stronger study designs, incorporating a variety of proven effective strategies, including those frequently used evidence-based strategies, as well as exploring promising strategies among specific target groups.
Familiarity with principles of palliative care, supportive care, and palliative oncological treatment is essential for providers caring for cancer patients, though this may be challenging in global communities where resources are limited. Herein, we describe the scope of literature on palliative oncological care curricula for providers in resource-limited settings. A systematic literature review was conducted using PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, Web of Science, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Med Ed Portal databases, and gray literature. All available prospective cohort studies, case reports, and narratives published up to July 2017 were eligible for review. Fourteen articles were identified and referenced palliative care education programs in Argentina, Uganda, Kenya, Australia, Germany, the USA, or multiple countries. The most common teaching strategy was lecture-based, followed by mentorship and experiential learning involving role play and simulation. Education topics included core principles of palliative care, pain and symptom management, and communication skills. Two programs included additional topics specific to the underserved or American Indian/Alaskan Native community. Only one program discussed supportive cancer care, and no program reported educational content on resource-stratified decision-making for palliative oncological treatment. Five programs reported positive participant satisfaction, and three programs described objective metrics of increased educational or research activity. There is scant literature on effective curricula for providers treating cancer patients in resource-limited settings. Emphasizing supportive cancer care and palliative oncologic treatments may help address gaps in education; increased outcome reporting may help define the impact of palliative care curriculum within resource-limited communities.
The Internet is increasingly a source of information for pancreatic cancer patients. This disease is usually diagnosed at an advanced stage; therefore, timely access to high-quality information is critical. Our purpose is to systematically evaluate the information available to pancreatic cancer patients on the internet. An internet search using the term “pancreatic cancer” was performed, with the meta-search engines “Dogpile”, “Yippy” and “Google”. The top 100 websites returned by the search engines were evaluated using a validated structured rating tool. Inter-rater reliability was evaluated using kappa statistics and results were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Amongst the 100 websites evaluated, etiology/risk factors and symptoms were the most accurately covered (70 and 67% of websites). Prevention, treatment and prognosis were the least accurate sections (55, 55 and 43% of websites). Prevention and prognosis were also the least likely to be covered with 63 and 51 websites covering these, respectively. Only 40% of websites identified an author. Twenty-two percent of websites were at a university reading level. The majority of online information is accurate but incomplete. Websites may lack information on prognosis. Many websites are outdated and lacked author information, and readability levels are inappropriate. This knowledge can inform the dialogue between healthcare providers and patients.