Medical apps have become more than just a way to track symptoms or help manage health issues — they have become a tool to provide valuable information to patients with various ailments. The University of Michigan has released the free Breast Cancer Ally app and unlike other apps it is designed to be an information as well as symptom management tool. Users receive educational content during every stage of their breast cancer battle. It was designed specifically for cancer patients at the University of Michigan.
Recently, we reviewed another notable medical center that released a patient education app — the Duke CPR app.
Unlike other breast cancer apps, Breast Cancer Ally is not only designed for patient tracking — it is designed to provide valuable information and be a useful educational tool. Patients can keep track of their symptoms as well as their treatment schedule, medication and appointment reminders. Other detailed information such as side effects, special instructions and trackers for drain management and post-operative exercises add to the list of features. Patients can also benefit from the educational content that is delivered at every stage of treatment. Whether it is surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, anti-estrogen therapy or even reconstructive surgeries, patients can get the information and help they need.
An important part of any cancer treatment process is the side effects, and the Breast Cancer Ally app provides a place to detail information about side effects and gives information on when to seek medical advice. This app also highlights treatment side effects such as those from chemotherapy so that patients can understand some things to expect. If the patient does require reconstructive surgery preoperative and postoperative tools are tailored specifically to the patient’s surgery. Most cancer apps only provide general information.
One of the key features of breast cancer ally is that it provides decision aids to help patients better understand and manage treatment decisions. Cancer can be overwhelming and with so many medical decisions to make in a short period of time it can feel like a hopeless battle. Having tools specifically tailored to help not only better understand, but make smart treatment decisions is a huge step in the battle against breast cancer. Perhaps the only major noticeable downfall of the Breast Cancer Ally app is that it is only available to University of Michigan breast cancer patients. Such a useful educational tool could benefit all cancer patients. With the popularity of mobile technology maybe we will begin to see similar cancer educational treatment apps pop up.