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Virtual reality is helping surgeons plan procedures, but it may also calm patients before undergoing radiation therapy.

Researchers at Thomas Jefferson University conducted a pilot study to determine if a virtual environment education program could reduce patient anxiety. “So many aspects of cancer care can produce anxiety for our patients, which can negatively impact their health and well-being,” said Matthew Marquess, co-first author and program director of radiation therapy at Jefferson College of Health Professions, said in a statement.

Twenty-two prostate cancer patients completed a 16-question survey to evaluate their anxiety and understanding of the procedure. The survey assessed their level of anxiety associated with being alone in the treatment room, treatment precision, claustrophobia, effects of daily X-rays and pain.

The research team then provided personalized education for each patient using the Virtual Environment Radiotherapy software developed by the company Vertual. It uses 3-D views and life-size visualizations of structures, dose, CT and beams of the DICOM radiotherapy plans. After the education session, the patients repeated the survey and the results showed that the patients were significantly less anxious and had a much better understanding of the procedure. The patients and their families used words like confidence, relief and satisfaction to describe how they felt.

“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,” said Marquess.

Cancer Screening Guidelines

Screening can help doctors discover and treat some types of cancer early. Usually, cancer treatment is more effective when the disease is detected in its early stages and there could be a better chance of curing the cancer. Some...

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Save Your Hair During Chemo

We offer the Chemo Cold Caps Solution for patients seeking to save their hair while undergoing chemotherapy.  The Chemotherapy Cold Caps program can be accessed at any of our North Texas clinics. At Choice Cancer Care we know that being diagnosed with...

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Learn About Your Options

Your journey with cancer is influenced by several factors. These factors include your overall condition, the specific characteristics of your cancer, and whether the goal of treatment is to eradicate your cancer, stop your cancer from spreading to other areas...

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