Free Mobile Apps Help Manage Cancer Symptoms and Coordinate Care

New apps bring together national cancer organizations, large companies committed to improving the lives of individuals with cancer

Managing cancer symptomsINDIANAPOLIS, October 7, 2014: Two new free mobile apps help people facing cancer to better manage the disease by learning how to deal with certain symptoms, and coordinate their care after cancer treatment has ended.

Self-Care During Cancer Treatment is an app provided by Empowerment and Action for Cancer Care, an alliance between Anthem, Inc. and Genentech. This app provides strategies for managing symptoms of cancer treatment. 

My Care Plan is an app version of the Journey Forward program developed through a collaboration including the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, UCLA Cancer Survivorship Center, the Oncology Nursing Society, Anthem, Inc. and Genentech. This app provides survivors with a tool to build a survivorship care plan they can share with their providers.

“The purpose of creating these two apps is to help close gaps in cancer care by providing people with relevant, timely information they can easily access,” said Jennifer Hausman, Anthem public health program director. 

Approximately 41 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetime, based on 2008-2010 data, according to the National Cancer Institutes. Today there are an estimated 14.5 million people living with all cancer types in the United States.

“We know that people who have cancer could benefit from easy-to-access self-care strategies tailored to the symptoms they are experiencing during active treatment, as well as what to expect after treatment and guidance on when to connect with their health care providers for follow up surveillance and care,” said Nina Wendling, NCCS chief operations officer.

About Self-Care During Cancer Treatment
The Self-Care During Cancer Treatment app helps people to identify and manage symptoms of cancer treatment and the disease itself—which can range from severe nausea to rashes and fatigue. The app’s content is derived from the Michigan State University Symptom Management Guide and Automated Telephone Symptom Management intervention tool.

The app asks people with cancer to fill out a form on their mobile device scoring a list of symptoms on a scale of 0-10.  If the individual scored “fatigue” with a high number, then the app would produce self-care strategies that match accordingly. The app then provides information on these options: “What can I do about my fatigue?” “When should I talk to my doctor or nurse about my fatigue?” “Where can I get more information?”

“It’s very calming to have all the information in one place, right at my fingertips so I know how to manage my symptoms and when I should contact my doctor,” said app user Joyce Johns. The app also helps me track how I’m doing between appointments so I can talk with my doctor about my symptoms.”

The app can prompt people to schedule the next assessment, which triggers a reminder at the appropriate time.

About My Care Plan
The My Care Plan app creates a guide for cancer survivors by developing a Survivorship Care Plan to coordinate and manage post treatment care. The app helps survivors know what to expect or look for when active treatment has ended, including the late- and long-term effects or symptoms and side effects of cancer treatment, and it provides a wellness plan to help survivors remain healthy.

Survivors can complete the My Care Plan on their own and share it with their oncologist and health care team to review and finalize the plan. The plan includes a listing of care team members, a self-assessment tool to identify symptoms and concerns, a summary of cancer treatment, a post-treatment care schedule, and a list of late- and long-term effects and other symptoms to be aware of.

“I’ve taken a very active role in my care planning, and was very concerned I had left something out. The My Care Plan app helps guide and inform the patient by managing what is needed for the care plan. It’s all in one place and easily accessed. This is an excellent app,” said app user Doreen Rizopoulos.

These apps are not meant to replace the advice of the individual’s healthcare team or provide medical advice.

Both apps are available in the Apple App Store and on GooglePlay.

About Journey Forward
Journey Forward is a collaboration of organizations with a common goal of improving survivorship care: National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, UCLA Cancer Survivorship Center, Oncology Nursing Society, Anthem and Genentech. These five organizations that have been leading survivorship care planning since 2007, in response to the 2005 Institute of Medicine’s “Lost in Transition” report identifying it as a significant gap in health care. Journey Forward continues to lead and innovate in the field of survivorship care planning by producing technology tools that can help the nation’s more than 14 million cancer survivors (Source: American Cancer Society, 2014) know they are no longer “lost in transition” from active treatment to survivorship care post-treatment.

About Empowerment and Action for Cancer Care
Empowerment and Action for Cancer Care is an alliance between Anthem, Inc. and Genentech. This alliance was created in 2011 with a primary focus of enhancing the health and well-being of individuals living with, through and beyond a cancer diagnosis by providing innovative resources and tools to the cancer community.

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