Oncology patient preferences in reporting on symptoms
Background: Collecting patient reported outcomes (PROs) in oncology clinical trials is becoming increasingly important. However, there is limited consensus on the most appropriate frequency of PRO administration in oncology trials. The aim of this preliminary study is to examine the perspective of participants with a cancer diagnosis on the importance of completing PROs and to identify at what frequency participants prefer to report on their cancer-related symptoms.
Methods: 166 participants with a self-reported cancer diagnosis completed a multiple-choice online survey regarding perceptions of symptom importance and reporting preferences.
Results: When asked about the benefit of reporting oncology-related symptoms daily, 44% of participants indicated there would be “very much” a benefit, 29% indicated there would be “quite a bit” of benefit, and 17% indicated there would be “somewhat” of a benefit. When asked about how frequently they would prefer to report symptoms, 41% of participants preferred “as they occur,” 36% preferred “once a day,” 18% preferred “once a week,” 4% preferred “twice a day,” and 1% preferred “every 4 hours”.
Conclusions: PROs in oncology clinical research are most often collected at weekly, monthly, or longer intervals; however, meaningful fluctuations in cancer-related symptoms can occur more frequently. While concerns regarding patient burden are often raised to support infrequent reporting, these data suggest that participants would like to report symptoms with greater frequency, as episodic and daily reporting options were most popular. Based on these data, more frequent PRO data capture is not only feasible but perceived as important by individuals with cancer.
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