Cancer treatment has become comparatively easier to live with over the past decades, without actually becoming out and out palatable. And for a lot of patients, the treatment is still worse than the disease. Not that living with the disease is ever a walk in the park. A friend of ours who knows once said that deciding whether to undergo treatment for cancer was like deciding whether to cross the Atlantic in a rowboat or on the Titanic. So anything that helps, well, helps.
At this past weekend’s South by South Lawn: A White House Festival of Ideas, Art and Action, University of Southern California researchers presented research showing how wearable technology and smartphones might be able to refine and ease the process, by giving oncologists and other doctors real-time data to work with.
Cancer treatment is usually an intermittent affair, with patients seeing doctors and getting treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation every so many days or weeks. Doctor visits are short and aren’t always able to address everything the patient is experiencing. Using wearable technology biometric data allows doctor to base treatment and other medical decisions on more immediate, objective data.
“The more than 30,000 minutes between visits are a missed opportunity,” said Peter Kuhn, co-lead researcher on the Analytical Technologies to Objectively Measure Human Performance project. “Technology can be leveraged to fill this gap and provide a comprehensive picture. The collected data can lead to better treatment decisions, better survival rates, and better understanding between physician and patient.”
The USC researchers participated in the SXSL Cancer Moonshot exhibit championed by Vice President Joe Biden. SXSL is based on the famous annual Austin, Texas, SXSW event for music, interactive film, and, lately, technical innovation.