Being diagnosed with cancer can trigger a wide range of emotions, including fear and confusion. After the initial shock of a cancer diagnosis, patients, as well as their families and caregivers must quickly begin planning to be better prepared for the physical and emotional challenges that lie ahead.
Cancer patients experience differing needs in terms of medical care, psycho-social support, and practical needs of daily living, which makes the cancer care complex.
However, with recent improvements in early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer, people with cancer are living longer, and their cancer may be managed as a chronic illness.
The patients play an important role along with the physicians and oncologists who need to empower people living with cancer, to help them make informed healthcare decisions.
For the growing population of people diagnosed with cancer, as well as cancer survivors who experience differing needs in terms of medical care, psychosocial support, and practical needs of daily living, websites and mobile apps provide an easy way to access valuable health information.
They provide educational resources, decision-making tools, psycho-social communication, and social support to cancer patients and their providers, helping them improve care and daily living.
Cancer.Net is one of the leading resources for cancer information. It provides comprehensive, oncologist-approved information from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) to people living with cancer and those who care for and about them to help patients and families make informed health care decisions.
Cancer.Net also developed a free mobile app for Android and iOS, as a companion to their website, which provides up-to-date guides on 120 types of cancer, with detailed information about treating cancer, managing side effects, managing the cost of care, and living with cancer.
The app is developed primarily for people living with cancer and their caregivers, however, physicians can use the app as well.
Upon opening, the app would ask users to download specific cancer type information by choosing from the list. Cancer types are listed alphabetically, from adenoid cystic carcinoma to pediatric Wilms tumor.
Multiple types can be downloaded at once, which is particularly useful for providers, however, keep in mind that it may take some time and it requires the Internet connection.
Once downloaded, the information can be accessed offline. Unfortunately, images won't always load and display, unless you have the Internet connection.
Information provided in the app contains general facts about a specific type of cancer, along with detailed information about statistics (number of people with a specific type of cancer, survival rates, etc.), risk factors, screenings, signs and symptoms, stages, treatment options, and more.
Information is supported by medical illustrations showing the body parts affected by the disease, stages of the disease, etc. While high-quality, these illustrations don't look good on smaller screens. They do not fit the display and they can't be zoomed in or out.
Users can also access a wealth of additional oncology-related information, but these resources are available outside the app, which means they require an Internet connection and viewing in your browser.
Besides providing useful cancer-related information, Cancer.Net Mobile app empowers patients by allowing them to add and store questions that can be assigned to a particular physician.
There are predefined questions, but users can also add their own, which can be either suggested questions or written by the user. Users can also type in the answer, which can be stored in voice form, which is particularly useful for patients that can't use the touchscreen to type their question, for example, because of peripheral neuropathy due to chemotherapy.
The app also has another amazing feature. It can be used as a medication and symptom tracker.
Patients can use the app to add and store their medications and prescriptions, with the ability to set a dose, frequency, start date, and the provider who prescribed the medication. Users can also take a photo of medication and add store it as well. Keep in mind that there is no medication database, so all drugs need to be entered manually.
Unlike for medications, the app provides common symptoms that users can choose from, ranging from anxiety to pain to vomiting.
Patients can set severity, from mild to moderate to severe, and time stamp their symptoms. Users are given the ability to write additional notes as well as to link questions they've already added to the app.
There is an RSS section that allows users to view and listen to latest articles, videos, and podcasts.
While the app is easy to use, I found navigation a bit clumsy, especially when browsing and adding types of cancer.
Overall, Cancer.net Mobile app is a must-have resource that provides a wealth of oncology-related information to cancer patients, their family members, their caregivers, as well as their healthcare providers.
Benefit: The app is designed for cancer patients, their families, caregivers, and healthcare providers