Thursday July 18, 2019

Medical Selfies can Improve Relationship between Patient and Doctor: Study

For the study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, researchers first interviewed 30 patients, clinicians and caregivers

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For the study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, researchers first interviewed 30 patients, clinicians and caregivers. Pixabay

Taking medical ‘selfies’ and sharing them with a doctor empowers and reassures patients and can improve their relationship with the medical practitioner, a research has found.

“Healthcare consumers feel this data is valuable, it helps them have a sense of autonomy in their care, improves their view of the service they are being provided and it enhances the relationship between doctor and patient because there is a sense of mutual respect and communication,” said Kara Burns from the Queensland University of Technology in Australia.

To gauge experiences with and attitudes to consumer-generated health photographs, the researchers conducted a two-part study. For the study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, researchers first interviewed 30 patients, clinicians and caregivers.

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Women taking selfie (Representational Image). VOA

In the second part, parents were asked to take photos of their children’s surgical wounds at the hospital and send it to the surgeon so that he could review healing.

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Parents said it improved their confidence in and satisfaction with the medical service and taking the photos was a useful reminder for them to check how the surgical sites were healing. The findings from the photographic trial supported conclusions drawn from the interview study.

“The parents who took part in the trial said they felt reassured and that the service was going above and beyond. They said normally the door feels shut when you leave a hospital and providing the photos was a way to stay connected and contact the surgeon afterwards,” Burns said. (IANS)

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Good News for Cancer Patients, Treatments to be Less Invasive

Many people have some combination of chemo, radiation and surgery

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Cancer, Patients, Invasive
The treatments kill healthy cells as well as cancerous ones, and the side effects are legendary. Pixabay

There’s good news for cancer patients: Treatments are becoming less invasive and taking less time.

Traditional treatments often include chemotherapy or radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. The treatments kill healthy cells as well as cancerous ones, and the side effects are legendary.

Surgery can be an option, too. Sometimes it’s all that’s needed, but many people have some combination of chemo, radiation and surgery. These treatments can span months, and patients have months more of recovery time.

Cancer treatment is now moving toward precision medicine that targets just the cancer.

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There’s good news for cancer patients: Treatments are becoming less invasive and taking less time. Pixabay

For example, doctors are using focused radiation, after a lumpectomy, for women who have early stage breast cancer. With this procedure, radiation beams pinpoint the tumor from hundreds of different angles for a short period of time. Each beam itself is weak, but together, when they hit the tumor, the result is a higher dose of radiation.

Just five days

Dr. Julia White at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center found focused radiation has the same positive results as full breast radiation. Plus, the partial radiation takes only five days.

White said, “The short five-day treatment is just as good as the whole breast irradiation [that lasts] for four to six weeks.”

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Other treatments use the body’s own immune system. Dr. William Nelson at Johns Hopkins Medicine told VOA it’s clear that the immune system sees cancer cells as abnormal, “and if we unleash the immune system, it can attack and destroy the cancer cells.”

The American Cancer Society says immunotherapy has become an important part of treating some cancers, and that newer types of immune treatments, currently being studied, will affect how we treat cancer in the future.

Still another new treatment, genomic testing, involves testing the cancer cells to determine their genetic makeup.

Most cancers start because of genetic mutations, and each patient’s cancer is unique, just like his or her DNA. If doctors know the particular DNA, they can prescribe medicine that targets the mutated cells. Healthy cells are left alone.

 Cancer, Patients, Invasive
Traditional treatments often include chemotherapy or radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Pixabay

Dr. Marcia Brose at the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania specializes in this type of treatment. In a Skype interview with VOA, she said genomic testing and precision medicine targets cancer cells “at the very core of what made them a cancer to begin with, and that’s what precision medicine is really about.”

Few side effects

Brose said few patients have any side effects. If they do, she lowers the dose of the medication. It eliminates the side effect, and the treatment is still effective.

Because genomic testing is costly, Brose said, the biggest impact right now is for patients whose cancer keeps returning or spreads to other parts of the body. She doesn’t see it yet as a first-line treatment. But the results are outstanding.

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Brose recalled treating a woman with a rare type of cancer called sarcoma. When they met, the patient was in a wheelchair and on oxygen. Brose said that three years after treatment, the woman is hiking with her kids.

Brose said that patients whose cancers aren’t responding to treatment should ask their doctors about genomic testing. It isn’t for everyone, but Brose and other cancer specialists think targeted therapy, immunotherapy or genomic testing and precision medicine are the future of cancer treatment. And one day, it will be the standard treatment worldwide. (VOA)