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There's an App for That!
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There's an App for That!

It seems there are apps for everything under the sun, but did you know there are many health-related apps for our phones that might be beneficial to you? 
PUBLISHED May 29, 2018
Bonnie Annis is a breast cancer survivor, diagnosed in 2014 with stage 2b invasive ductal carcinoma with metastasis to the lymph nodes. She is an avid photographer, freelance writer/blogger, wife, mother and grandmother.
Several years ago, Apple coined the buzz worthy phrase, “There’s an App for that.” According to the maker of the popular iPhone, there was an app (short for “application”) for just about anything you could imagine. Most of us have learned our phones are powerful tools. We can search for applications in just a few seconds by visiting the app store, but what has all of this to do with cancer? Well, I’m getting there.

Last week, I wrote about my issue with fatigue. In that post, I discussed the ways physical exhaustion is affecting my life. Initially, I’d thought I was just extremely tired, but when symptoms didn’t resolve, I began to do research and found my problem was related to cancer. My problem also had a name: cancer-related fatigue.

A day or two after my post was published, I received a contact from Amy Rosenblum, Marketing Director for the Dutch company, “Tired of Cancer.” Ms. Rosenblum had read my post on cancer-related fatigue and wanted permission to share it with others. She explained her company had recently developed an app she thought I might find useful. This app, she explained, was designed  to help cancer patients and survivors as they combat cancer-related fatigue (CRF).

According to the company’s website, the app, “Untire,” was developed by Dr. Bram Kuiper and Door Vonnk. Kuiper and Vonnk, through their research, found that many cancer patients were suffering from severe fatigue which was a direct result of medical treatments or other impacts of their illness. Their discoveries led to the development of an online training program in 2009 for those suffering cancer related fatigue.

The training program lasted a period of nine weeks. Feedback revealed users noticed positive changes in their attitudes and some noticed less fatigue. As a result of the online program and its positive impact, Dr. Kuiper and Door Vonnk decided to use their innovative program to help others by developing an app.

Neither of these researchers knew how to build an app, although they knew it would be beneficial to people around the world. Working tirelessly and continuing their research for over five years, they finally realized their dream and launched the English app in early 2018.

I had the pleasure of reviewing the app and found it to be more than I expected. The app not only offered helpful tips and advice on subjects like fatigue, anxiety and worry, it also offered information on how to better improve sleep, nutrition and self-care.  

The app is extremely easy to use and for those who aren’t in the mood to read the information provided, the app reads aloud for you. As I listened to the various modules included with the program, I was amazed at the amount of content included. It almost felt like I had my own medical advisor at the touch of my fingertips.

I was impressed that the main focus of the app was to help the user find ways to combat fatigue by finding ways to increase their energy. While there were some tips on exercise and ways to build physical stamina, there were also tips included on learning to discover how things affected one physically or emotionally.

The app impressed me so much that I’ll continue using it and no, I am not receiving any form of compensation for sharing this post about it. I do feel this is a wonderful way to incorporate medical knowledge, psychology and helpful healing tips into one space for people who need it.

The Untire app isn’t only something cancer patients and survivors can use. Anyone struggling with extreme fatigue or tiredness would benefit from the information included in the program.

Are oncologists in America aware of the app? I have no idea, but I intend on sharing information about it with my doctor. I’d really like to see it shared at medical conventions, through cancer resources, and at other venues in the future.

It’s amazing how something as simple as a little app could help people understand and learn to deal with the problem of cancer-related fatigue. And while I’m sure it won’t completely solve the problem, it can offer helpful information for those struggling, like me. By the way, one unique component of the app tickled me. As I was progressing through the program, every five minutes or so it would remind me it’s good to take a break now and then. It would continually ask if I was sure I wanted to continue working and encouraged me to enlist the help of a buddy if I felt I needed it.

How many other phone apps are there that could be useful for cancer patients and survivors? I’m sure there are countless others. Since our phones seem to have become extra appendages to our bodies, we might as well make them work for us in every way possible, don’t you agree?


 
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