by Terri Coolong, CSG Leader
Instead of dragging notebooks and texts to your next doctor’s appointment, why not go high tech?! Many of us have leapt into the digital age by purchasing either smart phones or tablets. Although a good round of Candy Crush can’t be beat, why not put your phone to good use by adding some cancer apps? This puts a wealth of information right at your fingertips.
Mobile is a great app that has received e-Healthcare Leadership awards. It has an overview of 120 different types of cancers, along with statistics, risk factors, prevention, symptoms and signs, diagnosis and stages. An interactive tool allows you to store questions to ask your healthcare providers and record either voice or written answers. The prescription medication tool is a place to save information on your medications, including the dosage and the prescribing doctor. If your device has a camera, you can photograph the label of the bottle and the pill itself. A symptom tracker helps you log symptoms, their severity, and times they appear, such as appetite loss, insomnia, headache or vomiting. There is also a section featuring podcasts, videos, and Cancer.Net articles. Download this free app through iTunes or Google Play.
is a wonderful quarterly publication available free to anyone diagnosed with cancer. It contains information not only on innovative research, but also on issues of interest to patients and survivors. Although not yet available on Android, iTunes is now a source for the magazine. You can also read it on the web.
Novartis Oncology has an app called ClinicalTrialApp
that lets patients search the National Institutes of Health for clinical trials that could be a fit based on the treatments and diseases under investigation, the location, phase of development and other aspects of the studies. The app also explains how trials work. This was launched in hopes of educating patients and boosting enrollment. Free from both iTunes and Google Play, I could not try it out because it was incompatible with my tablet but it should work on most phones.
Numerous patient support tools help cancer patients stay connected with friends and other patients. One of the most popular is CaringBridge
. Developed after the website, it doesn’t have as many features, but is handy to quickly add or check updates and supportive messages. It is easy to keep a large group of people informed of your cancer progress. The live chat function can also provide quick answers to questions. Free from iTunes and Google Play.
Keeping fit and healthy is important during both cancer treatment and survivorship. MyFitnessPal is
an app and website that helps track your nutrition and exercise to determine optimal nutrients and caloric intake for the user’s goals. Consumer Reports rated it the best free program in overall satisfaction, calorie awareness and food variety. With the largest food database of any app (over 3 million), the user can either enter the name of the food or scan the barcode to add to their list of most frequently eaten foods. It shows the calories needed per day based on your current weight and future weight goals, and keeps a running tally as foods eaten (or exercise performed) are added. Free from iTunes and Google Play.
A cancer patient created Chemo Brain Doc Notes to
help remember important questions for her next doctor’s appointment. Many cancer patients who have drug therapy suffer from memory problems. Before your appointment, you can record your critical issues either in text or voice memo, so that during the visit you can refer back to your questions to make sure your needs are addressed. You can also add information from your visit, such as complex medical terminology, relevant medical issues, or next steps to take. You can include reminders about prescriptions, side effects, and test results. Free from iTunes and Google Play.
My PearlPoint Side Effects Helper
app features a list of common cancer treatment side effects and evidence-based advice on how to manage them. This app also provides nutritional guidance. The user picks a side effect and is given simple suggestions from registered dieticians and convenient access to educational articles and videos. Downloadable at iTunes or Google Play (free).
There are hundreds more free apps related to cancer that can be found through a search of the internet, but these are ones that either I have found useful myself, or that have been highly rated by other users.
Upcoming Cancer Support Group meetings are set for April 8, with Margo Stevens presenting information on the Millinocket Relay for Life fundraiser. On April 22, Marcia Larkin will be presenting information on accessing cancer care and free transportation options available through Penquis. Meeting times are from 6:00-7:15 pm in Conference Room B at Penobscot Valley Hospital and are open to any patient, survivor, or caregiver. Call the CSG hotline for more information at 207-794-7149.