|Photo by breastcancer.org.|
By Vicky Tosh-Morelli, DBCC Director of Information Services
How often have you heard “There’s an App for that?” referring to the ubiquitous nature of the small applications built for smart phones? It didn’t take long for several breast cancer and breast health related apps to appear on the iPhone App Store. Here’s a review of a few we checked out.
One caveat, we didn’t download any apps that weren’t free. If the information you are providing about breast cancer isn’t freely available, one has to question your motives and the validity of your information. There were enough free, quality apps out there that spending even 99 cents seemed a waste.
1. Breast Cancer Diagnosis Guide – breastcancer.org
This rather utilitarian app allows you to enter responses relevant to your breast cancer diagnosis and then provides you with a customized set of relevant articles. It’s a lot of information to get through but the explanations that accompany each question or group of questions are very good. The app also includes a comprehensive word list to help explain some of the medical terminology. The app may be handy for tracking the specific characteristics of your breast cancer but the breastcancer.org website is much easier to navigate for the information provided.
2. Breast Cancer Beyond the Shock – National Breast Cancer Foundation
Described as a “comprehensive online guide to understanding breast cancer,” Beyond the Shock provides a series of animated short videos organized into seven chapters. Each chapter may have one to 10 segments, none longer than 3 minutes. The information is very good and easily understandable. The app also provides links to videos of real breast cancer survivors talking about their experiences and a discussion board where you can post questions. It’s an excellent package with one drawback – the discussion board doesn’t seem to be well moderated so some questions and some answers may not be the most helpful and could even be upsetting.
3. iBreastCheck – Breakthrough Breast Cancer
Developed by a UK breast cancer charity, iBreastCheck is one of the best breast health apps we found. It features a video that demonstrates the TLC (Touch, Look, Check) breast health message and emphasizes that knowing your own body is one of the best methods of early detection. There is also an illustrated guide that takes you through the steps and it allows you to set up monthly reminders. The “Risk” section asks a series of questions and provides you with a “Risk Report” and advice on what you can do to reduce your breast cancer risk. The app also provides links to the Breakthrough Breast Cancer website, donation page and newsletter signup.
4. Breast Cancer Awareness – Health Authority Abu Dhabi
This app is part of a public education campaign in the Middle East and provides information in English and Arabic. It presents a nice overview of breast health information, risk factors, and screening guidelines. You can also set reminders for monthly self checks. There is a nice section called “Men and Breast Cancer” that talks about the supportive role men can play for the women in their lives and gives information about male breast cancer as well.
5. Dr. K’s Breast Checker – www.Doctor-K.net
A rather simple app to help you become more aware of your breasts through self-exam. The app lets you mark areas of concern on an image of a breast and then takes you through a series of questions about other changes to your breasts. The app stores the information by date and lets you compare answers from month to month. If you indicate a change, “Dr. K” will recommend you see a health care provider.
6. Breast Health and Healing – the Breast Health & Healing Foundation
Unfortunately, not a very well designed app with an unclear purpose. The text is rather small to read on a smart phone. The app mostly provides links to the website and ways to follow Dr. Ruddy on social media. The most useful part of the app is the Mammogram Facility finder. The app uses your current location to produce a Google Map of facilities in your vicinity but I couldn’t get it to find by zip code and the information may be out of date.
7. Chemo Calendar – Health Monitor
A nice utility that lets you track appointments, medications, and health information during treatment. It has built in protection to keep your data safe and allows you to email some of the information to you medical providers.
8. CURE – CURE Magazine
A nice app for taking CURE Magazine with you on your iPhone. You can read articles from current issues in text format or as the full layout from the magazine. Links in articles are “live” so they will take you to the website for more information.
- National Breast Cancer Foundation
- Breast Health & Healing Foundation
- Health Monitor Guide to Chemo Calendar
- CURE Magazine
- National Cancer Institute (NCI)
- American Cancer Society