Telemedicine and prostate cancer survivorship: a narrative review
Prostate cancer survivors have unique needs that encompass diagnosis and treatment-related side effects. The provision of services for prostate cancer survivors is often limited by resources, time constraints in traditional clinic visits, payment, and patient and provider comfort with discussion of sensitive topics including sexual and urinary health, both of which are largely impacted by treatment. Telemedicine, the remote delivery of health care services using telephone, mobile, web, and video platforms, allows for potential cost savings, in addition to ease and comfort as patients can engage in telemedicine-based resources in the comfort of their homes. Furthermore, survivors prefer to seek information online making telemedicine approaches for prostate cancer survivorship care an ideal combination. A majority of the telemedicine-based interventions used the web, followed by telephone, mobile, and video platforms. In limited studies, telemedicine delivery of survivorship care has equal efficacy to traditional care delivery. In addition, although older patients did not use the Internet regularly, they were willing to adapt to Internet usage if it had the potential to increase their quality of life. Telemedicine delivery of prostate cancer survivorship care is acceptable, feasible, cost-effective, and potentially preferred by prostate cancer survivors. Additionally, it emphasizes knowledge, self-management and self-monitoring serving to increase self-efficacy. This specialized care allows for greater access and reaches a wider catchment area compared to traditional clinic visits. This is especially important as the number of prostate cancer survivors increases and healthcare systems incorporate alternatives to traditional in-person care.