Monday, January 30, 2012

Cancer - is there an app for that?

When I went through chemo my oncologist gave me printed form where I could readily record my temperature, pain, nausea (on a scale of one through ten though in my case the range began at 10 and went from there) and other things I quickly forgot about. But I can still see the form. As the treatments with FAC progressed my desire to be "the perfect (read: anal) patient" decreased. My intake form started to look like an abandoned crossword puzzle. The notes in my journal went from precise descriptions, to short poems, to gibberish. I was proud enough just to make it to my appointments and smile at the receptionist.
     Was I nauseated: yes. Couldn't even stand to see the word.
     What was my temperature? My what?  Does this mean I have to get up?  For real?
     The pain ranking was elementary, my dear Watson. You expressed your pain in a series of smiley faces that ranged from the ubiquitous and perfectly happy yellow smiley face to the bilious, slimy green one with yes, TEARS. If I'd ever felt that badly I certainly wouldn't have been writing on my patient intake form. I'd have been in an ambulance.
      Time passes. Things change.
      When our medical system evolves to the place where it it totally patient-centered the necessary symptom management should easily be accomplished via an app that is tied in to your cancer treatment center. Yes, well.
      Theoretically apps should make things easier. For you. That's the point of all this and I don't know that for sure or what your experience is with them. Our question tonight on #BCSM is this: how are you using apps to help manage your cancer treatment? Which ones are you using?  How are they facilitating your conversations with your doctor? Are you using any now that treatment is over?
       When we finalized this topic both Alicia Staley (@stales) and Robert S. Miller, MD (@rsm2800) suggested the apps available at, that includes guides for 120 kinds of cancer, symptom trackers, and videos, podcasts, etc. Alicia will talk about her experience using that application tonight.
       My friend Jennfer Texada (@JennTex) at MD Anderson also sent me this lisT: The list includes a number of prevention apps from Livestrong and the American Cancer Society as well as the ASCO programs mentioned above. Keep in mind this isn't a conversation about the quantified self movement, we can chat about that another time if you like, but cancer specific apps that are helping you manage your disease. Another good one is NCCN guidlelines, a breast cancer diagnosis guide available from, and an encyclopedia of treatment terms via Livestrong. These are available on iTunes.
       We'll look forward to talking with you tonight at 9 pm ET/6 Pacific.
       For now, let us know what we need to add to the list!


Nathan Reagan said...

The convo was going so fast I didn't know how to jump in! But I enjoyed following along none the less.

Husroon said...

i really liked your blog that is providing very useful information to visitors.... visitors can also get free information about Breast cancer thank you

midlynn said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
midlynn said...

I’ve found a great product to help with medication management that I’d like to pass on. This is an all-inclusive system. Not only does it organize and store, but it’s been proven to improve health outcomes by ensuring the appropriate use of medication and reducing the risks of avoidable side effects. No more pill boxes or zip-lock bags for your pills. Check it out at

Medication Management is one of the highest priorities and health initiatives this year. Mayo Clinic, AHCA, and various clinical programs worldwide have set out to find a solution to the complex medication management weakness in the medical community. MyMedBox is the solution to transportation, organization, and cognitive impairments hindering their effective use.