Meet Peter: A cancer survivor
Peter is a 51-year-old bus driver who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. At first, it was difficult for him to accept it but the fighter he is, he managed to undergo many months of treatment. However, this has affected his Quality of Life both physically and psychologically. Having a conversation with a friend who is a doctor, Peter started using the ASCAPE Patient service to address these issues.
Fighting cancer side effects
In recent months, he has been regularly updating his state of health by answering a series of questions regarding his emotional well-being, his immediate physical side effects, the state of his intimate relationships, and much more. Among these questions is one that is quite relevant to his recent concerns: "Are you constipated?" He records his answer without hesitation: "Very much". He is waiting for his doctor's views on this frustrating experience, which he believes is a side effect of his chemotherapy. To his surprise, his doctor had prepared to discuss it as well: she had seen his input and had run the ASCAPE algorithms to review the available information and options. She discuss with him the top two options, which were either to take a mild over-the-counter medication or to engage in a medium-intensity exercise plan. She answered his questions and based on their discussions, she recommended that he follow the exercise program, in order to avoid unnecessary medication.
However, his doctor had also identified a worrying sign: his responses to emotional well-being suggested a slight deterioration. When asked about this, Peter shrugged it off saying "he's fine", but she insisted that ASCAPE predicted worsening for patients in his status. She suggested that he remain aware of his well-being for the time being, and take care to comfort him about how common and manageable this is if diagnosed early.
Later, as Peter re-visited the ASCAPE patient service, he was pleased to report that his constipation had dropped from "Very much" to "A little", possibly thanks to the exercise he had decided to follow. Interestingly, he was looking forward to the questions about emotional well-being. It took him a while to answer them as he remembered his doctor's words. He did feel good - but also reassured by the fact that he could remain in control if he and his doctors could read the signs in time.
How did ASCAPE help Peter?
In this scenario, ASCAPE enhanced the healthcare professional's interaction with the patient by collecting (and analyzing) quality of life data and suggesting possible interventions, which the doctor used to make a recommendation to the patient. This, in turn, can improve the patient's quality of life. In addition, predicting the patient's emotional deterioration helped (i) identify an important aspect of their quality of life that may have gone unnoticed, and (ii) make a prediction using incomplete data. To sum up, the ASCAPE platform has the ability to lay the foundation for improved health awareness and improved quality of life for a wide part of cancer patients.
N.B: Peter is not a real person even if he could be one of us.