27.06.2014

Chemotherapy. Let these apps help you

Chemotherapy. Let these apps help you

Image | Xemio

One in every eleven Women in the European Union will develop some form of breast cancer before reaching the age of 75. Just in Spain, 16,000 new cases are diagnosed each year, and 6,000 of these women will not overcome this illness. These figures, which have been collected by the iSYS foundation are frightening, but they help us take on board the magnitude of this serious problem, which affects the lives of so many women. Fortunately, science does not stop advancing, meaning that we have more and more tools for successfully combating this and other forms of cancer at our disposal. But not everything is in the doctors’ hands. Mobile technology can also contribute decisively to improving the quality of life of people who suffer from cancer.

Apps for helping with different focuses

There’s currently dozens of apps available designed specifically for helping cancer patients who are in the middle of chemotherapy treatments. Many of them have been collected by the Mobile World Capital Barcelona health team, categorised by mHealth professionals and designed to assess any entity or start-up wishing to develop a solution in the area of health and mobile technology. In terms of breast cancer, apps such as Med Helper Pro Pill Reminder stand out. This tool for iOS and Android is created to help patients follow their meds schedules with less difficulty, and helps interpret adverse effects which may appear.

The objective of Keep a Breast, which is also available for iOS and Android, is very different. This tool favours prevention, meaning it’s been designed to help women carry out a frequent regular self-check which allows them to detect possible breast cancer in the earliest possible state. It doesn’t just send a notification to your mobile when the check should be done; it also explains in detail how to do it and can disseminate the reminder via social networks in order to encourage other women to examine their breasts, thus reinforcing the importance of prevention.

Breast Cancer: Beyond the Shock is an app for mobiles with iOS, designed to help people who suffer from breast cancer to take in the diagnosis of this illness and handle the chancers which they must face to adapt their lives to these new circumstances. In order to reach this objective, it features backup from a social network in which other patients can participate as well as medical professionals. Their contributions can be very valuable to people who’ve been recently diagnosed.

Xemio, an app with a lot to say

Video | Xemio

Xemio is a mobile app designed expressly for improving quality of life of patients with breast cancer during chemotherapy treatment. In its development, cancer specialists have actively collaborated with other professionals with vast experience in health communication, amongst which we should highlight Imma Grau, international reference in eHealth and prime mover of the ForumClinic programme, and Montse Muñoz, responsible for the Breast Unit of Barcelona’s Hospital Clinic and member of the Spanish Group of Clinical Breast Cancer Research.

Xemio’s objective is not just to support and inform anyone who suffers from this form of cancer, but also to accompany them so they can continue developing a full life in these adverse circumstances and reduce levels of anxiety. According to Imma Grau, cancer specialists maintain a permanent, reciprocal relationship with doctor Muñoz (the doctor in charge and assessor of Xemio), and well as others in order to keep moments in which it’s necessary to create a great quantity of content covered. This is then made available to the app’s users. Furthermore, this tool can be integrated into webpages dedicated to patients with cancer, and its medical content will be annually revised by cancer specialists in order to integrate newest treatments available.

Xemio is mainly recommended for women suffering from breast cancer, but its owners have advanced that their intention is to expand the project in the future, meaning that it will also be useful for people suffering from other forms of cancer. That said, this second phase will only begin once the benefits of Xemio have been consolidated and analysed by the team moving the project forwards. Furthermore, it will play a very important role in scientific analysis of the way in which side effects for people with breast cancer are manifested, although the information collected by Xemio will be anonymous.

In order for this promising initiative to move forwards, the owners of Xemio are counting on various funding methods. One of them is Verkami, the well-known collective funding platform, where they hope to collect at least 20,000 euros during the stage in which the campaign is active. But they’re also exploring other ways to obtain the revenue which will make the fine-tuning of the app possible, such as traditional sponsorship, collaborations and direct fundraising. That said, in order to guarantee maximum neutrality and transparency, the people behind Xemio will not accept the help of pharmaceutical companies or anyone with economic interests in the area of chemotherapy.