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URMC a partner in developing virtual rural oncology community

University of Rochester Medical Center

An online portal is being developed with the goal of improving the health and quality of life of rural cancer patients.

A team from the University of Rochester Medical Center is partnering with the Livingston County Department of Health, Tri-County Family Medicine, Noyes Health and local cancer survivors to create the portal.

According to URMC, the goal of developing the Virtual Rural Oncology Community (V-ROC) is to “improve communication and decision-making about treatment options, support and other needs that arise after initial cancer treatment ends.”

KatiaNoyes, professor of surgery and public health sciences, is leading the project.

“We are excited to work with our partners in Livingston County to ensure that we are designing a resource that truly meets the unique needs of rural communities,” she said in a statement.

On average, 350 people in Livingston County are diagnosed with cancer each year, according to URMC. Survivors often face new physical and emotional challenges such as watching for symptoms of cancer recurrence, coordinating appointments with providers, managing long-term effects of cancer treatment and addressing concerns such as nutrition, pain, sleep, anxiety and depression.

Jennifer Rodriguez, Livingston County’s public health director, said in a statement that cancer patients who live in rural areas “face unique barriers regarding cancer-related resources. Creation of a Virtual Rural Oncology Community is needed, especially in our area.  It will benefit individuals, families, caregivers and healthcare providers.”

A $300,000 award over two years from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute will support this project.