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Feasibility and acceptability of an iPad application to explore symptom clusters in adolescents and young adults with cancer


  • Conflict of interest: Nothing to declare.



The aim of this study was to evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of a computer-based symptom cluster heuristics tool designed to explore symptom clusters experienced by adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with cancer. The Computerized Symptom Capture Tool (C-SCAT) is a newly developed iPad application, which combines graphical images and free text responses in an innovative heuristics approach to explore symptoms and symptom clusters.


Seventy-two AYAs (13–29 years of age) with cancer at five institutions across the US completed the C-SCAT 24–96 hours after the initial chemotherapy dose in a chemotherapy cycle.


All participants completed the C-SCAT successfully in a mean of 25 minutes, with 74% reporting that the final image was an accurate or very accurate representation of their symptom experience. Little clarification/coaching was necessary while completing the C-SCAT. Few technical problems were encountered. Participants judged the C-SCAT questions to be clear and endorsed ease of following instructions, typing, and drawing.


The C-SCAT demonstrated feasibility and acceptability. With refinement based on study results, the C-SCAT has potential to: (a) empower AYAs to communicate their symptom experience and partner with providers in their care; (b) improve symptom management and ameliorate distress; and (c) translate to use with other highly symptomatic populations. Pediatr Blood Cancer 2014;61:1996–2003. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.