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Table of Contents
LETTER TO EDITOR
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 162-163

Improving access to technology among older adults with cancer: Current perspectives and future priorities


Department of Geriatrics, Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición Salvador Zubirán, Mexico City, Mexico

Date of Submission18-Jan-2022
Date of Decision24-Jan-2022
Date of Acceptance24-Jan-2022
Date of Web Publication24-Feb-2022

Correspondence Address:
Enrique Soto-Perez-de-Celis
Department of Geriatrics, Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición Salvador Zubirán, Vasco de Quiroga 15, Sección XVI, Tlalpan, Mexico City
Mexico
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/crst.crst_33_22

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How to cite this article:
de-la-O-Murillo A, Soto-Perez-de-Celis E. Improving access to technology among older adults with cancer: Current perspectives and future priorities. Cancer Res Stat Treat 2022;5:162-3

How to cite this URL:
de-la-O-Murillo A, Soto-Perez-de-Celis E. Improving access to technology among older adults with cancer: Current perspectives and future priorities. Cancer Res Stat Treat [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 May 21];5:162-3. Available from: https://www.crstonline.com/text.asp?2022/5/1/162/341293



In their manuscript, “Utilization of technology among older Indian patients with cancer: A cross-sectional study,” Rao et al. provide us with very important information regarding the low uptake of technology and limited access to the internet among older adults with cancer in India, as well as the influence of various geriatric and social factors, such as cognitive impairment and educational level, on the use of novel communication tools.[1]

It is a widespread belief that older adults have significant difficulties when trying to use digital technologies and that many of them are not interested, or even unable, to employ them. Although various studies, including the work by Rao et al., demonstrate lower access to communication technologies among older individuals, others have shown that older adults with cancer are eager to use technology for their health with great acceptability. In the United States, for example, it was shown that most older adults with cancer agreed to use home-based health information technology to communicate with their cancer care team.[2] In a Canadian study, older adults with cancer were interested in having tools to inform themselves about their diagnosis, treatment, and side effects to make decisions and support cancer self-management.[3]

Data to support the acceptability of technology for older adults with cancer also come from developing countries. In Mexico, our group is currently conducting a study utilizing smartphones for the remote monitoring of chemotherapy toxicity in older adults with solid tumors, which requires the use of a smartphone with an installed pedometer application for the first 3 months of treatment (NCT04040881). In the preliminary results, although 38% of the older adults enrolled in the study had never used a smartphone, 97% were satisfied with their experience, and ≥90% agreed that it improved medical care and their ability to communicate with the medical team.[4]

These data show that the use of technology among older adults with cancer can become feasible when user-friendly tools are adopted and when older users obtain appropriate training on how to utilize them. Many such tools have been proposed as potential remote health monitoring systems in the context of cancer care, including web portals, smartphone applications, wearables, smart homes, e-textiles, and smart objects, among others.[5]

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that communication technologies can improve access to medical care, particularly for patients who live far from healthcare units or cannot travel due to comorbidities. At the same time, reports such as the one by Rao et al. are concerning because they show that the implementation of such programs may leave many older adults behind. Therefore, for now, it seems that it is still necessary to continue using resources we are familiar with, including telephone calls, written materials, and in-person visits, particularly in developing countries. These gaps should be filled by creating new strategies to improve medical care that demonstrate the efficacy, feasibility, and impact of information technology among older adults with cancer. Adapting existing tools and making them accessible for older patients, particularly those living in developing countries, represents a great challenge but also a great opportunity for researchers in geriatric oncology.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Rao AR, Gattani S, Castelino R, Kumar S, Dhekale R, Krishnamurthy J, et al. Utilization of technology among older Indian patients with cancer: A cross-sectional study. Cancer Res Stat Treat 2021;4:656-62.  Back to cited text no. 1
  [Full text]  
2.
Hoogland AI, Mansfield J, Lafranchise EA, Bulls HW, Johnstone PA, Jim HS. eHealth literacy in older adults with cancer. J Geriatr Oncol 2020;11:1020-2.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Hall S, Sattar S, Ahmed S, Haase KR. Exploring perceptions of technology use to support self-management among older adults with cancer and multimorbidities. Semin Oncol Nurs 2021;37:151228.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
De la O Murillo A, Monroy Chargoy J, Aguilar Velazco JC, Medina Palma ME, Soto Perez de Celis E. Acceptability of Mobile Technology for the Remote Monitoring of Older Mexican Adults with Cancer Receiving Chemotherapy. ASCO 2021 Medical Student & Resident Abstract Forum. [Last accessed on 2021 Jun 10].  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Fallahzadeh R, Rokni SA, Ghasemzadeh H, Soto-Perez-de-Celis E, Shahrokni A. Digital health for geriatric oncology. JCO Clin Cancer Inform 2018;2:1-12.  Back to cited text no. 5
    




 

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