Breast cancer app puts patient first

Customized info key to Mayo Clinic program


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Newly diagnosed with breast cancer? There's an app for that.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 26/06/2015 (2659 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Newly diagnosed with breast cancer? There’s an app for that.

A breast cancer expert at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., has designed an iPad application that’s interactive and customized for each new patient.

“It’s so much better than going to the Internet,” said Dr. Sandhya Pruthi, who grew up in Winnipeg.

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS U of M-trained Dr. Sandhya Pruthi demonstrates the breast cancer patient app she helped develop for the renowned Mayo Clinic.

Patients hit with the news they have breast cancer don’t have to wade online through overwhelming amounts of information — some of it questionable — to see what they’re facing, she said. “What a nice way to be able to do this without them freaking out.”

The iPad app is designed to help guide Mayo Clinic patients through the breast cancer diagnosis and treatment options and includes pictures and names of the health-care providers they may deal with along the way.

The Mayo loans an iPad to each new breast cancer patient. It’s loaded with the app that is personalized and specific to their particular type of breast cancer.

“Over 90 women since April 6 have received one,” said Pruthi, whose last name was Kapoor when she attended the University of Manitoba medical school more than two decades ago. “Every patient now gets set up with one.”

They can take the information about their diagnosis home and share it with their loved ones. The only thing the patient needs is Wi-Fi access.

“The nice thing is it’s in her hands, in her home and available when she wants it,” Pruthi said.

The interactive program prompts the patient to input how she feels about treatment options; asking her to rank things such as the priority of her appearance and — as the clinic is in the United States — how much of a concern is the potential cost of treatment.

Pruthi said she logs in and can see what a patient’s comfort level is with different treatments and track any changes.

The software for the app was developed by a vendor in Portugal, with Pruthi and her team at the Mayo Clinic providing the information. She won a $50,000 grant from the Mayo Clinic for innovation that helped pay the $56,000 bill.

“In the future, my goal is to share (the app) with other medical centres,” said Pruthi, who was in Winnipeg this week to collaborate on a research project with CancerCare Manitoba.

Pruthi said an interactive and customized app for people with other types of cancers could help both patients and their doctors. “If patients are engaged, they’re more compliant and more likely to be involved in their health care.”

Carol Sanders

Carol Sanders
Legislature reporter

After 20 years of reporting on the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home, Carol moved to the legislature bureau in early 2020.


Updated on Friday, June 26, 2015 5:51 AM CDT: Replaces photo

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