In the digital age, if there’s an issue, there’s a smartphone app that addresses it. For patients and families navigating cancer, thankfully, the options are plenty. Here’s a variety of smartphone applications created to specifically address the needs of the cancer community.
Cancer.Net Mobile: free for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app includes features that allow patients to get up to date information on more than 120 types of cancer, log and track their treatments, receive advice on how to manage side effects, provide cost of care information, and connect to links for cancer-related podcasts, videos, and blogs. This app is available for Spanish speakers as well and allows patients to track symptoms, log medication and facilitate communication between doctor and patient.
CareZone: free for iPhone or Android. This organizational app helps patients remember treatments, plan care notes, summarize drug administration protocols, deliver medication and doctors’ visit reminders, and simplify treatment through taking and retaining pictures of medications, prescriptions, and supplements. The app also provides a journaling area for tracking appointments and keeping notes to discuss with doctors.
Create To Heal: free for iPhone. The goal of this app is to “gently take you from your head to your heart, where the healing process begins.” Though the app isn’t meant as a treatment management tool, it does focus on creativity and stress relief as a compliment to care plans. The app was tested over five years using hundreds of cancer patients. It provides guided meditations, soothing music, and art with a view to reducing stress and assisting in the healing process.
Chemo Brain: free for Apple devices. Chemotherapy is notorious for producing in patients temporary but significant memory lapses. This app is designed to make it easy for patients to make notes in the moment so that this condition isn’t a hindrance. Patients can jot down reminders for medications, appointments, questions for the doctor and thoughts on side-effects, as well as record what physicians say during an appointment and send e-mails to friends or family to keep them updated.
Cancer Dictionary Free: free for iOS devices on iTunes. Navigating the world of medical jargon can be overwhelming and alienating. The app gives instant access to oncology-specific information in an easy to use quick reference guide to facilitate understanding and give patients clarity. Guides for pronunciation and synonyms for terms and drugs used to treat cancers are also included. This app works offline for those offices with limited internet connectivity. The app has instant share with friends to keep any patient’s support network speaking their language. User-friendly interface is appropriate for internet abilities ranging from novice to advanced.
iHealth Log: $4.99 for iOS devices on iTunes. Created to serve people with chronic diseases, this app tracks appointments, test results, lab values and even fluctuations in weight. It is more thorough than some other apps and includes features like an audio diary to record questions for the doctor, keep memos to stay organized and keep on top of necessary tasks. This app also includes the option to protect patient sensitive medical information with a separate password.
LivingWith: Cancer Support: free on iTunes: A “My Circle” function gives patients a simple way to communicate with the family members and friends who matter most to them. It has a feature that allows patients to request someone manage the app on their behalf when needed. A “Requests” function allows patients to send requests for help with daily tasks like meals, rides to doctors’ appointments or other support. A “Health Notes” function records key takeaways from doctors’ visits, and tracks notes and questions in between appointments to improve communication with healthcare teams. It stores test results, medication details and insurance documents in one central folder. And a “Living With” function allows patients to track mood, pain, sleep and counts steps. Users can sync data with other fitness apps and wearables. Patients choose which information to share in personalized graphs and reports regarding their wellness for better communication with doctors and support personnel.
No matter what your diagnosis, level of understanding or internet savvy, there’s an app for cancer that can help you. It’s important to remember that these tools are not meant in any way to replace a doctor or specialist, but they can bring relief, organization and help connect to resources and people who wish to provide support to cancer patients. See your online app store and consult with your doctor or oncology social worker for further or more specific guidance on those apps which might best benefit you.
The apps included in this sampling in no way represent a bias by the National Foundation for Cancer Research for or against these or other products.