Breast cancer is a life-threatening condition that often requires care spread over a long period of time, from different medical specialists. Telehealth services can help save time and allow you to receive some of your care at home. Telehealth services include virtual appointments, patient portal communications, and online education. These services are becoming more common in breast cancer care, especially in light of the need to socially distance due to COVID-19.
Healthcare providers are taking special precautions to allow for safe in-person care since COVID. Getting your care from home can reduce your risk of exposure by cutting down unnecessary trips for cancer care that can be delivered virtually.
Telehealth services are becoming more common in the management and treatment of breast cancer, and many different types of appointments can be conducted from home. Whether you’re seeking a second opinion or have questions about a medication’s side effects, telehealth may be able to help.

When Can You Use Telehealth?

  1. After an Abnormal Mammogram: Telehealth services may be appropriate for your initial consultation with an online oncologist following an abnormal mammogram. The online specialist will review your mammogram findings virtually and discuss your diagnosis and possible treatment plans.
  2. Follow-Up Visits: During a follow-up visit for breast cancer, your telehealth provider will review any recent lab tests or scans and recommend any treatment changes if need be.
  3. Post-Op Care: Virtual consultations are also available for post-op care after your breast cancer surgery. You can discuss any non-emergency issue or symptom with your online doctor. You can also ask for e-prescriptions for pain management and also let your doctor examine the surgical wound via video or images.
  4. For New Symptoms or Side Effects: When you begin your treatment plan for breast cancer, you may experience side effects such as fatigue, hair and nail changes, mouth sores, menopause symptoms, nausea, headaches and more. Telehealth services allow you to contact an online specialist when need be and discuss interventions for such symptoms. If you are experiencing serious side effects from your treatment such as uncontrolled vomiting or diarrhoea, chest pain, sepsis, confusion or change in vision, , it’s best to see a doctor in person, however in cases where it is not possible your best bet is to talk to an online specialist via telehealth.
  5. Seek a Second Opinion: If you have decided to seek a second opinion on your breast cancer diagnosis, telehealth may be helpful. You have access to specialists from around the world, with whom you can share your test results and ask for a second opinion. This feature is particularly helpful if you have a limited number of specialists in your area.
  6. Multidisciplinary Care Appointments: During your breast cancer treatment journey, you will most likely be asked to visit several specialists, these include, oncologist, nutritionist, physical therapist, and psychologist for trauma management etc., to name a few. You can make a number of these visits online as per your convenience from the comfort of your home.

Benefits of Virtual Care

1. Time and Cost Savings

There is no doubt that telehealth is more convenient for patients, especially those with little to no help during treatment and recovery. If you have recently had breast cancer surgery and are not having any serious issues, taking an online follow-up appointment is much easier, especially if you are still in the early stages of healing and experiencing pain. Telehealth is also relatively less expensive than traditional visits as it cuts down other expenses like on transportation.

2. Family Involvement

A 2020 study found that patients undergoing care for breast or other gynaecological cancers reported that telehealth services saved them time, increased their access to care, and improved their health overall. The survey also found that respondents felt that access to telehealth made them feel more actively involved in their care and allowed their family members to be more involved in their treatment plan as well. A telehealth appointment may allow more of your family members or caregivers to understand your treatment plan.

3. Better Quality of Life

The convenience and personalized care with telehealth appointments  decrease stress and improve better quality of life for patients and their families. Virtual services may also help patients feel more independent during their care as they are less likely to rely on others to take them for in-facility visits. This is especially helpful when being treated for cancer since so much of what is happening to them is outside of their control.

How to Prepare for a Telehealth Visit with MobiHealth?

MOBIHEALTH is a multidisciplinary telehealth platform which provides services across Africa. MobiHealth aims to provide equal opportunities for everyone to live their healthiest life. Book an online appointment for yourself or a loved one, so that they may enjoy the convenience of quality care from the comfort of their home.

With MobiHealth you can find the right healthcare specialist from a vast database of online doctors. With MobiHealth you don’t need to install third party software for your online appointment. MobiHealth offers an interactive platform, with pre-existing call features, remote patient monitoring and EMR all in one place.

Before you start your appointment it is ideal to think through the questions you’d like to ask and any updates you’d like to tell your online doctor. Once you have logged on for your online appointment you will have a one-on-one discussion with your online doctor in regards to your treatment and care.

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