By Devon Tolliver
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ website, breast cancer is the second most common kind of cancer in woman and will affect one out of every eight women born today. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the digital and connected health industry is helping in the fight against it. Here are some apps and devices that can help in all facets of dealing with this disease.
Early Detection, Self-Exams and Screenings
Keep a Breast: Early detections are extremely important and the best way to do that is through regular self-exams. The Keep a Breast app from The Keep a Breast Foundation reminds you to perform your exam each month through an automatic reminder on your phone. The app also offers a step-by-step self-examination guide.
Dr. K’s Breast Checker: This is another alert app that sends reminders about yearly mammograms and monthly self-exams. The Dr. K’s Breast Checker app also has self-exam instructions and allows you to make notes of noticed changes found during the exam. If you find a change that concerns you, a short questionnaire in the app can help you determine if a doctor appointment is needed.
Digital Mammography: Mammography is the tool most commonly used for breast cancer screening. The new digital mammography system is similar to conventional film mammography, but allows for less compression time during the process and the digital images appear in seconds on a computer screen. Benefits include: better skin line visibility; greater image flexibility; shorter exam times; faster results; and, a decrease in patient anxiety.
NoTouch BreastScan: Though it is the most used tool, mammography screening is not equally effective for all women and physicians can recommend additional (adjunctive) testing, one being the NoTouch BreastScan. The FDA-cleared test is contact-less and radiation-free and is suitable for women of all ages, including women with dense breasts and women who are at high risk for breast cancer.
Breast Cancer: Beyond the Shock: Receiving a breast cancer diagnosis is a difficult time leading to overwhelming emotions and feelings. Created by the National Breast Cancer Foundation, the Breast Cancer: Beyond the Shock app helps you get through the first few weeks and, with the aid of a social network, supports you as you move forward with treatment.
MediSafe: As with any illness or disease, fighting breast cancer can come with an array of medication prescriptions. MediSafe, a cloud-synced mobile app and medication adherence platform, helps patients, family members, and caregivers keep track of medication schedules. Mobile reminders are sent to patients when it is time to take a medication, and if not adhered, an alert can be sent to a family member or care giver.
Breast Cancer Diagnosis Guide: Receiving a breast cancer diagnosis is a frightening experience and trying to understand the complicated terminology only adds to anxiety. With the Breast Cancer Diagnosis Guide, you can navigate the technical language through a thorough glossary of terms and detailed medical illustrations. The app also provides information on the latest research findings.
Breast Cancer Ribbons: This mobile app allows you to sport a digital breast cancer ribbon wherever you go through encouraging wallpapers and messages that can help you stay strong in your (or someone you love’s) fight against the disease.
Raising Awareness and Fundraising
Bliss HD+: This iPhone game is a must-have. Though it doesn’t address breast cancer or treatment, a portion of the sales from the game goes to The Beautiful Day Foundation, a breast cancer awareness organization. What a fun way to help raise funds for an important cause!
TweetCaster PINK for Twitter: Turn your social networking habits into a breast cancer awareness campaign through the TweetCaster PINK Special Edition app (in partnership with the Feel Your Boobies® Foundation). With the purchase of the app, you get a distinctive “pink” version that helps to spread hundreds of life saving ‘feel your boobies’ reminders.
A breast cancer diagnosis is a difficult family time, but there is hope. This is just a sample of the connected health resources available to arm yourself and family with ways to face diagnosis, disease, treatment and recovery.
American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org)
Breast Cancer Connections (www.bcconnections.org)
Living Beyond Breast Cancer (www.lbbc.org)
National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. (www.nationalbreastcancer.org)
National Cancer Institute (www.cancer.gov)
Susan G. Komen (ww5.komen.org)
The WLSA provides this article as an information source only and has listed a sampling not an exhaustive list of resources nor does it have any afiliation with these organizations resourced above.