App ends cancer "information overload"

Tuesday, 9th February, 2016

Aussie doctors develop app to help cancer patients.

CANCER care is being pushed into the smartphone age with a new app that provides personalised cancer information to patients.

THE CancerAid app enables doctors to "prescribe" the correct information to the patient, including details on their disease, treatments and possible side effects.

It allows patients and their carers to navigate their entire cancer journey and share important details with clinicians and family.

Australian doctor and radiation oncology trainee Nikhil Pooviah, of Sydney's Chris O'Brien Lifehouse, designed the app after observing the "information overload" experienced by many patients.

"Most cancer patients are bombarded with an hour of information when they are first diagnosed, much of which they do not register," Dr Pooviah said.

"CancerAid will ensure patients go home with the information they need to help improve their understanding and avoid confusion and anxiety."

The app has already won support from leading cancer doctors, organisations and hospitals. 

Patients are also enthusiastic.

Dominic Morency, 50, has the rare cancer leiomyosarcoma. She said the app would allow her to just listen to her doctor rather than frantically taking notes during appointments.

"I use technology to simplify every other aspect of my life," she said. "I should be able to do the same with my cancer."

Clinical associate professor Kerwyn Foo, a radiation oncologist at the University of Sydney, hopes the app will overcome the desperate shortage of personalised information available to patients.

"One of CancerAid's greatest strengths is its involvement of the patient's clinical team to ensure the information is both personalised and accurate," he said.

Cancer Aid's co-founders are Dr Pooviah, Dr Raghav Murali-Ganesh and Dr Akshat Saxena.

It is scheduled for formal release mid-year.

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