PURPOSE: Adolescent and young adult (AYA) patients with cancer face significant challenges with regard to fatigue, reduced physical activity, and social isolation, which may negatively impact quality of life. This study investigated whether the use of digital wearable technology (Fitbits, along with synced iPads) can affect health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in AYA aged patients with cancer.MATERIALS AND METHODS: This was a prospective cohort study that offered Fitbits and iPads to all AYA patients aged 15 to 29 at an academic medical center at the time of cancer diagnosis. Patients completed the Short Form Health Survey developed by RAND (RAND-36) assessing eight dimensions of HRQOL on entering the study and at the time of their 6-month follow-up or the end of treatment, whichever occurred first. At the time of follow-up, patients also completed a questionnaire that assessed user experience, including frequency of wearable device use, enjoyment, challenges, and participation, in online communities.RESULTS: Thirty-three patients participated in the study. Most patients reported enjoying the digital technology and using the devices to track multiple aspects of their health (85%). Most also reported a subjective increase in physical activity (79%). After the intervention, participants demonstrated significant improvements across all eight dimensions of HRQOL measured by the RAND-36 (p<0.00 to 0.01).CONCLUSION: Distributing wearable technology at the time of diagnosis may provide an avenue for improving HRQOL in adolescents and young adults with cancer.
View details for PubMedID 29924668