Purpose of App Review

  • Does playing Bowel Run encourage colon cancer awareness and screening?
  • Is this a medical app?

Introduction

Colon Cancer is a preventable illness that will likely kill over 50,000 people in America in 2013 (1).

Colon Cancer Awareness Month aims to save lives by encouraging colon cancer screening (2).

Bowel Run is a free game for iPhone and iPad that encourages players, “to dive right in, literally…Almost like your own fantastic voyage up the bowel tract shooting polyps, destroying cancerous masses, and of course, jumping over caverns of stool.” I was curious to see how this app would use a gaming strategy to try to de­mystify the colon cancer screening process and guide users towards helpful health resources about colon cancer awareness.

User Interface

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The player is shown as a running doctor who must jump over “caverns of stool” to collect fruit, pills, and coins while avoiding or shooting at pre­cancerous polyps or cancerous tumors.

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Bathroom inspired sound effects accompany each jump.

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The game ends if the player runs into a polyp or tumor, or if they fall into the poop river below.

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I was very disappointed with this app. The game wasn’t fun (I kept falling in the poop river), and there weren’t any direct parallels to colon cancer awareness. No helpful facts, no helpful links, no helpful anything– just a river of stool and a tasteless sound track of gaseous noises. Let’s be honest. Shooting pre­cancerous polyps in this game isn’t going to actually help prevent colon cancer like colon cancer screening will.

Price ­

  • Free

Likes

  • Turns colon cancer screening into something lighthearted.

Dislikes

  • Doesn’t offer any advice to players on how to learn more about colon cancer awareness and prevention.
  • This is not a fun game.

Healthcare providers that would benefit from the app

  • None.

Patients that may benefit from app

  • Few, perhaps those nervous about colon cancer screening tests that aren’t turned off by bathroom humor.

Conclusion

  • Bowel Run is a lighthearted attempt to take some of the stress out of the colon cancer screening process.
  • It does not, however, offer any practical information or links to educational resources for patients and is ultimately not helpful as a medical app. This app is not available on the Android platform.

iMedicalApps recommended?

  • No

iTunes link

Rating: 2.75 / 5

  1. User Interface ­- 2 ­- Hard to play, easy to lose.
  2. Multimedia usage ­- 3 -­ Fun graphics.
  3. Price ­- 5 ­- Free.
  4. Real world applicability -­ 1 -­ Very little relevance to actual Colon Cancer Awareness.

References
1. Colon Cancer Alliance: National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
2. Colon Cancer Alliance: Screening Methods

Reviewed Version: 1.1
Device used: iPhone 4S with iOS 6.1
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later.

Disclaimer:
This post does not establish, nor is it intended to establish, a patient physician relationship with anyone. It does not substitute for professional advice, and does not substitute for an in-person evaluation with your health care provider. It does not provide the definitive statement on the subject addressed. Before using these apps please consult with your own physician or health care provider as to the apps validity and accuracy as this post is not intended to affirm the validity or accuracy of the apps in question. The app(s) mentioned in this post should not be used without discussing the app first with your health care provider.