Testing the acceptability and feasibility of a tablet-based supportive cancer platform for patients with metastatic breast cancer

J Cancer Surviv. 2021 Jun;15(3):410-413. doi: 10.1007/s11764-021-01021-x. Epub 2021 Mar 11.


Background: Although metastatic breast cancer (MBC) survival is improving, symptoms remain a significant burden. Returning to a cancer center for symptom management can be challenging. Technology-enabled supportive care platforms are worth exploration.

Methods: Seventeen patients with MBC were randomized to immediate or delayed start for a 3-month intervention that included daily tablet-based guideline-concordant self-care for pain, distress, fatigue, and sleep disturbance, as well as weekly calls with a patient navigator. The primary outcome was patient acceptability. We also assessed feasibility, patient satisfaction, and cost and compared between group differences for symptoms. RM-ANOVA examined between group differences over time. Hedges' d effect sizes quantified magnitude of differences in change between immediate and delayed start.

Results: Sixty-eight percent of patients approached accepted the tablet-based intervention. Patients interacted with the tablet 48% of possible days. Patient satisfaction ranged from 83 for walking to 49% for the psychological interventions. The cost of delivering Nurse AMIE for 3 months was $570.23. Small nonsignificant improvements were found for fatigue (d=0.24). Nonsignificant, but potentially clinically meaningful, moderate reductions were found for sleep (d=0.65) and distress (d=0.74).

Discussion: A tablet-based supportive care platform that offers guideline-concordant self-care for pain, fatigue, sleep, and distress was observed to be highly acceptable and feasible for patients with metastatic breast cancer. Patient satisfaction scores and initial evaluation of efficacy are promising, and the platform warrants further investigation.

Implications for cancer survivors: Technology-based self-care is a promising option to address symptoms in patients with metastatic breast cancer.

Keywords: Breast cancer; Metastatic; Supportive care.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Fatigue
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pain
  • Quality of Life
  • Self Care