6 Incredibly Useful Apps for Cancer Patients
*Updated 17/01/19. From time to time we'll post an update when we discover links to outdated or inoperative content and services. Since PearlPoint The Cancer Side Effects Helper is no longer active, we've added another great app to help you stay connected!
If you thought your smartphone’s only use during your treatment was accessing Candy Crush in the waiting room, you thought wrong. A new wave of patient-centric apps is helping people just like you to understand their disease better, learn more about side effects, and help make the day-to-day management easier. Here is our pick of the best five, based on reviews, usefulness, and design. Some have been designed by patients and support groups, others by doctors and hospitals, all of them could prove incredibly useful for monitoring and managing your care.
Nothing can replace the care of your clinicians and oncologists - please consult with your doctor before making any changes to your care plan or lifestyle. This selection of apps was chosen because of their potentially useful and supportive benefits and are by no means intended to diagnose or treat cancer.
When receiving treatment, remembering information, care notes, medications, dosages and schedules can be overwhelming¹. CareZone aims to simplify the process by offering a number of features that help you stay on top of your treatment. Take a picture of your meds, prescriptions, and supplements and the app will automatically add their names, dosages, and other details so you always have a list of your medications. It even includes reminders and schedules and allows you to track what you’ve taken to record treatment adherence. The calendar to keep track of appointments, a folder for important contacts and an easy-to-use journal should prove extremely helpful for you and your doctors.
Pocket Cancer Care Guide
Developed by the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, this free app turns your phone into a handy dictaphone so you can record answers from your doctors and nurses; a godsend if you’re having trouble remembering certain facts or simply want to relisten to what was said to make sure everything is clear. The glossary of medical terms will help jargon-bust any tricky conversations you may not have processed at the time, and the calendar helps you schedule your appointments.
Create to Heal
Created by The Women Wings Foundation Create to Heal program this free app aims to “gently take you from your head to your heart, where the healing process begins.” Though not a treatment management tool per se, this app’s focus on creativity and stress relief could compliment your care plan nicely². Tested over five years with hundreds of cancer patients, you can expect guided meditations, music, and art that aim to reduce stress and aid the healing process.
My Chemo Brain
Chemotherapy is notorious for adding a fog to many patients’ thoughts, causing temporary memory problems³. This app, created by a cancer survivor, empowers patients by doing the remembering for them. Dictate or write notes regarding your side-effects, concerns, and issues so they are in one place for your next appointment, record what your doctor tells you, and even email recorded messages to friends and family.
CaringBridge encourages patients to create online health journals that could improve their treatment⁴ and can be shared with friends and family and inspire other patients around the globe. The app furthers their goal by putting everything you need to update your journal, comment on other patients’ diaries and connect with people going through something similar. It also allows you to reach out to family and friends for support and encouragement when the going gets tough.
Reachout: My Support Network
This app aims at creating a community/ communities of patients with the same disease. It focuses on several diseases, from cancer to mental health. Chronic disease often leads to depression and feelings of loneliness. Reachout brings together those who face similar situations who get a sense of purpose and positivity from helping others5 . Users are able to tap into a community of people just like them. Simply by sharing their own stories, they can gain practical insights and even make new friends.
- The challenge of patient adherence
PMC, September 2005
- Mindfullness App
The Women With Wings Foundation
- Chemo Brain
American Cancer Society, May 2016
- The effects of journaling for women with newly diagnosed breast cancer
Wiley Online Library, February 2005
- Chemo Brain
American Cancer Society, May 2016
- Chronic illness and Depression: Learning How To Cope
Kayla Deskins. Reachout. October 2005