The use of telehealth has done a great job of enabling cancer patients to continue taking their medications even after experiencing adverse effects from them. Cancer patients are subject to various side effects when taking medications to treat cancer. The most common type of medications that cancer patients are prescribed are alkylating agents, nitrosoureas, antimetabolites, anti-tumor antibiotics, plant alkaloids, corticosteroids, and miscellaneous drugs that are not a part of any of the categories previously mentioned. Some of the adverse side effects that cancer patients can experience are low blood pressure, hair loss, blood disorders, vomiting, fatigue, and etc. No cancer patient wants to feel more any more miserable as a result of experiencing adverse side effects while trying to live their lives battling cancer. As a result of feeling miserable from side effects, many cancer patients stop taking their medications. Instead of deciding to stop taking their medications, cancer patients have a solution to their problem with telehealth.
Telehealth enables cancer patients to communicate with their doctors and tell them about the side effects that they are experiencing. According to an article published by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) this year, telehealth-based cancer care surged during the COVID-19 pandemic. Video and phone call appointments during the pandemic have become patients’ “new normal”. Having access to telehealth enables cancer patients to proactively reach their oncologists whenever they have adverse reactions and be able to get relief quickly. This enables patients to keep compliant with medication intake and improves their health outcomes. Telehealth affords cancer patients convenience, time and cost savings, flexible scheduling, access to specialists far away from them, and intangible benefits – mainly reduced exposure to germs. The American Cancer Society states that “telehealth technologies help cancer patients to manage their medications, gives tips on nutrition, offer teaching sessions about a new medication or treatment, and etc. As a result of the convenience and intangible benefits that telehealth gives cancer patients, demand for virtual healthcare has increased tremendously. Cancer care involving the use of telehealth is in its infancy stage but it is showing promising results for the future. The path for virtual healthcare is continuously being paved and it is a path that is being walked with increased innovative ideas and mind on how to treat cancer.
American Cancer Society. Telemedicine and Telehealth. ACS, 2020. Web. Accessed 26 Sept. 2022. https://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/choosing-your-treatment-team/telemedicine-telehealth.html
Ames, Hana. Common cancer medications. Medical News Today. Web. Accessed 3 Oct. 2022. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/common-cancer-medications#common-medications
National Cancer Institute. Telehealth-Based Cancer Care Surged during COVID. Will It Continue? NCI. Web. Accessed 30 Sept. 2022. https://www.cancer.gov/news-events/cancer-currents-blog/2022/pandemic-telehealth-surge-cancer-care