Online counseling tool a boon to recovering cancer patients

An online tool to provide counseling to cancer survivors experiencing fatigue was shown to be more effective than traditional, in-person sessions, according to a study published this month in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The study's authors believe the tool could blaze a trail for other programs aimed at easing what is often a costly and time-consuming process.

The study, which examined 273 patients--136 of whom used the program, according to Health Day News, found that after roughly three months, the "worst fatigue" for 42 percent of patients was less burdensome. By comparison, only 33 percent of patients in the control group could claim the same.

Lead researcher Young Ho Yun, M.D., Ph.D., of Seoul National University College of Medicine, told Reuters that in-person visits can result in "information overload" for patients and that online tools enable patients to gather information on their own terms.

Several cancer management mobile apps--such as the American Society of Clinical Oncology's Cancer.Net Mobile app and Cancer Coach--have been developed in the last year. Those tools, however, have been geared more toward patients still suffering from the disease, as opposed to providing post-disease counseling.

A study published earlier this year found that such tools were not as effective in helping diabetes patients manage their disease. That research, published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, reviewed 57 total studies with regard to 92 web-based tools, and concluded that most weren't simple enough, and had problems with usability and interactivity.

To learn more:
- here's the study's abstract
- read this Reuters article
- check out the Health Day News piece

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