University of Michigan app geared toward breast cancer patients

The University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center has developed an app, Breast Cancer Ally, that allows doctors to more easily customize treatment plans and lets patients track treatment progress.  

The team that developed the app spoke with specialists who cared for patients with breast cancer to get their opinions on what patients would need the most from an app, and also spoke with patients about what they would like to see out of the tool, according to an article at Cancer Therapy Advisor.

The center also hopes to roll the app out for more conditions, including melanoma, prostate cancer and colorectal cancer. Those apps will debut in early 2016 and reflect the center's strategy to create a suite of software for cancer treatments.

"In the future, these technologies will be even more important as therapy becomes more directed through genomics. These patient navigation apps can help filter the educational material based on the patient's genomic profile so that targeted therapy is merged with targeted education," Michael Sabel, M.D., a breast cancer surgeon who directed app development, told Cancer Therapy Advisor.

Integrating apps and devices into cancer diagnosis and treatment is happening at a wide range of institutions. A smartphone-based device promises to slash today's cancer diagnosis to an hour, decrease a patient's anxiety level regarding potential illness and drive faster treatment, especially in remote regions across the world, FierceMobileHealthcare previously reported.

But while such tools have an opportunity to contribute to cancer supportive care, many are primarily patient-driven and limited in use and scope. Yet that isn't stalling innovation. The MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper announced this spring it is deploying Apple Watch devices featuring a custom app to breast cancer patients in a pilot program to track behavioral information for ensuring treatment programs remain on target.

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