Study Reveals Efficiency of Wearable in Monitoring Cancer Treatment

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Researchers from UT Southwestern’s Simmons Cancer Center reported that data from wearable fitness trackers can be used to diagnose and treat cancer patients

Survey study of older cancer patients reported that wearing physical activity monitors (PAMs) for 10 weeks or more can provide correct data for diagnosis and treatment of cardiac disorders. Researchers found that data from the PAMs correlated well with clinician assessment of patient. “This is the first step in understanding how relevant wearable devices are for cancer patients. My hope is that we can use wearable devices in large cancer clinical trials. That way, we can see what the true effect of different cancer treatments are on patients’ physical activity,” said senior author Dr. Muhammad Beg, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine.

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology: Clinical Cancer Informatics in May 2018. Analysis of health parameters is a key part in making treatment decisions. Cancer patients often are older and subtle differences in functional status can be particularly important in evaluating elderly patients. Researchers said that adding objective data from PAMs can improve oncologist’s assessments of their patients.

As a part of the study, Twenty-four patients were treated for a different form of cancer including breast, lung, and gastrointestinal cancers. Furthermore, 23 of the participants met the goal set for feasibility for using the devices. “We found that patients could successfully use the wearable devices over a prolonged period. Measured steps per day differentiated performance status with great sensitivity, and correlated well with multiple quality-of-life surveys,” said Dr. Arjun Gupta, Instructor of Internal Medicine and first author of the study.

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