Quality of Life in Cancer Patients
IMI recently applied for a grant from the National Cancer Institute in order to collaborate with the Scripps Cancer Center to improve quality of life in cancer patients. Many clinical studies have been completed that involve using guided imagery as a form of distraction and relaxation during painful or unpleasant procedures.
In a similar manner, IMI hopes to use virtual reality as a means to lessen anxiety about illness and to improve overall quality of life for those suffering from this disease. Though guided imagery has proven to have immensely positive effects in the quality of life during cancer treatment, only 15% of the population can visualize effectively. Therefore, the other 85% of people are not able to picture images vividly or realistically enough to reap the benefits of guided imagery therapy.
This is where virtual reality can help. In virtual reality environments, the image is provided for the subject in a realistic manner and the subject becomes fully immersed in the virtual environment, eliciting the appropriate physiological and emotional responses. For that reason, virtual reality will be an effective medium for reproducing the positive effects of guided imagery for the majority of the population who cannot visualize successfully.