One of the main strengths of modern mobile devices is their ability to store numerous resources in app form.

There are a number of resources out there dedicated to cancer that include the Oxford Handbook of Oncology, Cancer.net and other texts from places such as Skyscape.

UBM Medica have introduced the Cancer Management Handbook.

It is a multidisciplinary approach resource which is essentially in an “app form” of the information accessible at cancernetwork.com.

The free app is built for iPad and iPhone and contains access to the first section only. Upgrading to a yearly subscription of $29.99 allows access to the rest of the content. The main advantage that the app has over the web version is the ability to access the information offline.

All the content is stored locally on your device so that you are not waiting for the app to load information from an external site. The other useful features are a search term and a bookmark facility. The search function is powerful and contains an autocomplete which means finding the correct search term is easy whilst the results are clearly laid out with a little extra information so you have some context.

The main subject areas covered are:

  • Cancers of the Head and Neck Region
  • Lung Cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Gastrointestinal Cancers
  • Genitourinary Malignancies
  • Gynecological Malignancies
  • Skin Cancers
  • Sarcomas
  • Brain Tumors
  • Other Solid Tumors
  • Hematologic Malignancies
  • Palliative and Supportive Care
  • Complications

The actual user interface of the app was positive and it was generally easy to find the information I was looking for. I did find the content was occasionally a little on the light side for a specialist app; however, I think there is good value for the regular physician who comes into contact with malignancy as part of their job.

For example, the section on signs and symptoms of oesophageal cancer was just over a page long at 281 words.

One part of the app that frustrated me was the inefficient use of space. The entire top portion of the app was reserved for advertisements of either ‘the onc’ (oncology nurse community) or sometimes replaced by a black bar. The advertisements were not even clickable leading me to conclude that they were a waste of useful screen real estate.
This was even more apparent when browsing articles which I felt could have a better layout if this screen estate was optimised.

There were also one or two issues with images not displaying correctly in the book mode but working fine when tapped on to zoom in.

I think that users who are considering purchasing this app should check out the cancernetwork website themselves to review the content and decide whether or not they want to pay to access this information anywhere.

Price:

  • $29.99 for a one year subscription

Likes

  • Simple user interface which is easy to use
  • Decent search function
  • Ability to search within articles and jump between sections

Dislikes

  • Waste of screen real estate with large ads/black bars
  • Some formatting issues

Overall

  • The Cancer Management Handbook is an average app aimed at oncologists, haematologists and internal medicine physicians. It contains a lot of useful information that is freely available on the internet and as such it is worth questioning why users would choose to spend $29.99 on enabling full access to the content.
  • Despite this, the actual app itself is relatively well finished and complete despite one or two visual drawbacks.

iTunes Link