Volunteer cancer advocates work with people affected by cancer to help them reflect on what is important to them in terms of treatment and care. Cancer and cancer treatments affect your quality of life and this area is increasingly recognised as being of importance by health professionals.
PROMS or Patient Reported Outcome Measures are now an essential component of any clinical trail, treatment evaluation or service assessment for cancer patients. Researchers from across the UK came together in Wessex last month to explore the creation of an Academic Health Science Network to promote collaboration.
The meeting Promoting Understanding: Research and Clinical Application of Patient Reported Outcome Measures in cancer patients was organised by Dr John Ramage, Consultant Physician, Hampshire Hospitals Foundation Turst and Kings College Hospital London, and Mr Colin Johnson, Reader, University of Southampton, and Honorary Consultant Surgeon, Southampton General University Hospital.
The speakers gave an overview of the work being done across Europe in this area and then described how questionnaires are developed to gather patient’s views on their own quality of life throughout the cancer journey.
To round off the afternoon Dr John Ramage gave his predictions for the future:
1 PROMs will be automatically collected in clinics.
2 Questionnaires for different cancers will be shorter and computer adaptive
3 Areas of concern will be picked up and treated, for example by a psychological intervention
4 PROMS scores after treatment will be available
5 Patients will get graphs to see PROM measures and be able to understand quality of life data predictions
6 Support will be available to explain the meaning of PROMs and if a person’s cancer is not curable they will have more information on how they might feel as a result of their treatment.