LOS ANGELES--Visitors to the Exhibitors Hall at this years ASCO meeting had the opportunity to walk in the shoes of a patient with cancer-related fatigue at Ortho-Biotechs In My Steps virtual reality experience, developed in cooperation with cancer patients and the Fatigue Coalition.
For this virtual journey, you sit in a special chair outfitted with pedals. A technician fits you with a virtual reality helmet (see Figure) that places you in the simulated house, and in the shoes, of a fatigued cancer patient. Using the pedals to "walk" and a hand-guided pointer to direct your movements, you guide the patient through simple tasks made challenging by the resistant pedals that slow your steps. Just making a cup of tea becomes maddeningly difficult as the kettle whistles, the doorbell rings, and an impatient delivery man leaves before you can reach the door. The experience, of course, cannot simulate the debilitating fatigue that many cancer patients describe. In one survey, 29% said they had difficulty just getting out of bed, and 24% were too tired to eat. It does, however, reveal the frustrations such patients feel.
In My Steps is traveling to cancer centers as part of 1-day fatigue awareness workshops for physicians and nurses. To schedule an event, call 1-800-776-2748.