Nav: Home

Virtual environment education reduces anxiety prior to radiation therapy

March 23, 2017

PHILADELPHIA -- Radiation therapists and physicians know that education can reduce anxiety before radiation treatment but lack a standardized tool. In an effort to solve this problem, a multidisciplinary team from Jefferson College of Health Professions and Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University conducted a pilot study to see if a virtual environment education program could reduce some of the anxiety their patients face. They published their results in the Journal of Radiation Oncology.

"So many aspects of cancer care can produce anxiety for our patients which can negatively impact their health and wellbeing," said Matthew Marquess, MBA, RT(T), co-first author and Program Director of Radiation Therapy in the Radiologic Sciences Department of Jefferson College of Health Professions. "Our pilot study showed that by using a simulated environment to teach our patients about their upcoming radiation therapy treatments, we can significantly increase their understanding of the treatment and reduce their anxiety."

To evaluate the program's efficacy, 22 patients with prostate cancer completed a 16-question survey to assess their anxiety and comprehension. The survey measured patients' anxiety levels associated with various aspects of care including being alone in the treatment room, treatment precision, claustrophobia, effects of daily x-rays, pain and others. Patients then received personalized education with co-first authors Marquess and Shirley Johnston, MS, CMD, RT(T)(R), Director of the Medical Dosimetry program in Jefferson College of Health Professions. The team used Virtual Environment Radiotherapy (VERT™) software, which is modeled after a "flight simulator" for radiation therapy including life-size visualizations and 3-dimensional views. After the education session, patients repeated the survey.

"Our pre- and post- survey results showed a significant decrease in anxiety and increase in comprehension," said Robert Den, M.D., Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology in Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center. "Even better, our patients' and their families' comments were unanimously positive with themes of improved confidence, relief and satisfaction."
-end-
Co-authors include Shirley Pinegar Johnston, MS, CMD, RT(T)(R); Noelle Williams, MD; Carolyn Giordano, PhD; Benjamin Leiby, PhD; Mark Hurwitz, MD; and Adam Dicker, MD, PhD.

Article Reference: Marquess, M., et al. "A pilot study to determine if the use of a virtual reality education module reduces anxiety and increases comprehension in patients receiving radiation therapy." Journal of Radiation Oncology. 2017.

About Jefferson

Jefferson, through its academic and clinical entities of Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health, including Abington Health and Aria Health, is reimagining health care for the greater Philadelphia region and southern New Jersey. Jefferson has 23,000 people dedicated to providing the highest-quality, compassionate clinical care for patients, educating the health professionals of tomorrow, and discovering new treatments and therapies to define the future of care. With a university and hospital that date back to 1824, today Jefferson is comprised of six colleges, nine hospitals, 34 outpatient and urgent care locations, and a multitude of physician practices throughout the region, serving more than 100,000 inpatients, 373,000 emergency patients and 2.2 million outpatients annually.

Thomas Jefferson University

Related Radiation Therapy Articles:

Radiation therapy, macrophages improve efficacy of nanoparticle-delivered cancer therapy
Massachusetts General Hospital investigators report finding finding how appropriately timed radiation therapy can significantly improve the delivery of cancer nanomedicines by attracting macrophages to tumor blood vessels, which results in a transient 'burst' of nanoencapsulated drugs from capillaries into the tumor.
Moffitt improves radiation therapy for head and neck patients
The researchers are able to use the radiosensitivity index within a mathematical framework to select the optimum radiotherapy dose for each patient based on their individual tumor biology.
As radiation therapy declined so did second cancers in childhood cancer survivors
Childhood cancer survivors are living longer. Now research shows they are also less likely to develop second cancers while still young.
Conventional radiation therapy may not protect healthy brain cells
A new study shows that repeated radiation therapy used to target tumors in the brain may not be as safe to healthy brain cells as previously assumed.
Does radiation therapy improve survival for women with ductal carcinoma in situ?
Investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have found that a set of easily measurable risk factors can predict the magnitude of survival benefit offered by radiation therapy following breast cancer surgery.
More Radiation Therapy News and Radiation Therapy Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#534 Bacteria are Coming for Your OJ
What makes breakfast, breakfast? Well, according to every movie and TV show we've ever seen, a big glass of orange juice is basically required. But our morning grapefruit might be in danger. Why? Citrus greening, a bacteria carried by a bug, has infected 90% of the citrus groves in Florida. It's coming for your OJ. We'll talk with University of Maryland plant virologist Anne Simon about ways to stop the citrus killer, and with science writer and journalist Maryn McKenna about why throwing antibiotics at the problem is probably not the solution. Related links: A Review of the Citrus Greening...