Professor Andreas Obermair Cherish Women's Cancer Foundation App Interview

Professor Andreas Obermair Cherish Women's Cancer Foundation App Interview

Professor Andreas Obermair Cherish Women's Cancer Foundation App Interview

The Cherish Women's Cancer Foundation has announced the launch of a revolutionary new smartphone app, which is set to improve the lives of the 1,580* Australian women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year.

Brainchild of leading gynaecological oncologist, researcher and Cherish co-founder Professor Andreas Obermair, the CA-125 app will allow women diagnosed with ovarian cancer to self-monitor their treatment and results.

The app is named after the CA-125 protein which is produced by ovarian cancer cells and shed into the blood stream where it can be detected. Commonly referred to as a -tumour marker', CA-125 levels are monitored through regular blood tests before, during and after treatment to track cancer progress.

After entering their holistic medical treatment into the smartphone app, patients will be able to follow the trends between their treatment (surgery, chemotherapy and radiation) and tumour marker changes, and the subsequent impact of various lifestyle factors on their cancer test results.

Professor Andreas Obermair said the CA-125 app would not only empower women to have greater control over their cancer treatment, but would also help create lasting social change.

'During the 15 years that I have operated my gynaecological oncology practice, I have seen how anxious patients get when awaiting their tumour marker results," Professor Obermair said.

'We wanted to create a practical self-tracking tool that would allow women to better monitor and analyse the effect of their treatment on their cancer progress, and give them greater peace of mind in between appointments.

'We hope that by facilitating better communication between patients and doctors through sharing information and results electronically, this smartphone app will assist in earlier detection of cancer reoccurrence, and therefore improve survival rates for women with ovarian cancer," he said.

In addition, the CA-125 app will gather invaluable data which will be available to gynaecological cancer researchers, and proceeds from sales will go to the Cherish Women's Cancer Foundation for other gynaecological cancer research projects.

Professor Obermair added: 'This app is not just designed for women currently going through ovarian cancer treatment – many women require lifelong tumour marker testing and the CA-125 app can be a convenient companion along the way.

'By purchasing this app for yourself, or a loved one in need – you're not only supporting the cancer journey of an individual, but you're contributing to a broader societal effort to find kinder and more effective treatments for ovarian cancer patients," he said.

The CA-125 tumour marker app is available on the App and Android store from today, for $9.99. All proceeds will go to the Cherish Women's Cancer Foundation to help fund further research into kinder and more effective treatments for gynaecological cancer patients.


Interview with Professor Andreas Obermair

Question: Can you tell us about the CA-125 app?

Professor Andreas Obermair: The CA-125 app is named after the protein which is produced by ovarian cancer cells and shed into the blood stream. CA-125 levels are commonly referred to as a -tumour marker' and are monitored through blood testing before, during and after treatment to track progress. We have designed this app to empower women diagnosed with ovarian cancer to self-monitor their treatment and results.


Question: Why was the CA-125 app developed?

Professor Andreas Obermair: The app was developed to provide a practical tool for women to self-track, monitor and analyse their cancer treatment whilst also allowing for greater peace of mind between appointments.


Question: How can we download the CA-125 app?

Professor Andreas Obermair: The CA-125 tumour marker app is available on the App and Android store from today, for $9.99.


Question: How will this app improve the lives of the 1,580 Australian women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year?

Professor Andreas Obermair: By facilitating better communication between patients and doctors through sharing information and results electronically, it is hoped that the app will have a positive impact on the patient – doctor relationship. In some cases it might even assist in earlier detection of cancer reoccurrence, and thus improve survival rates for some women with ovarian cancer.

The data gathered from patients will also be available to gynaecological cancer researchers and sales from purchase go to the Cherish Women's Cancer Foundation for other gynaecological cancer research projects. The app will also provide and empower women to have greater control over their treatment.


Question: What advice do you have for the earlier detection of cancer reoccurrence?

Professor Andreas Obermair: Increasing communication between the patients and her doctor is essential for earlier detection of cancer reoccurrence. Through tracking treatments and tumour markers via the CA-125 app, it is hoped that the sharing of information and results will assist with this early detection.


Question: What are the risk factors of Ovarian Cancer?

Professor Andreas Obermair: Ovarian cancer often has no or very unspecific symptoms, earning its name as -the silent killer'. The risk factors for ovarian cancer are largely unknown. However, we know that in 15% of patients an inherited genetic fault from one of the parents will have contributed to the development of ovarian cancer. A history of breast cancer also increases the risk of ovarian cancer by 60%.

Prevention is crucial in order to interfere with the risk of ovarian cancer. Women with a family history of ovarian or breast cancer should proactively see their GP to assess their risk.


Question: What can we do to help a loved one diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer?

Professor Andreas Obermair: Helping a loved one through this stressful time can be challenging, however there are ways you can show your support.

Taking the time to educate yourself on ovarian cancer is important to understand what they may be going through, and allow them to feel more comfortable discussing their journey with you. Read credible sources, real patient stories and Australian-based websites and medical journals, and remember there is support out there.

Helping to track their journey through products such as CA-125 will encourage open communication and show your support in a practical way.

Finally, don't let the cancer take over your relationship. Providing support is essential, however try and keep things as normal as possible. Your loved one is still the same person and however challenging, try not to let every conversation revolve around the cancer.


Question: Why did you choose to work with Cherish Women's Cancer Foundation?

Professor Andreas Obermair: The Cherish Women's Cancer Foundation was established to generate funding for research and clinical trials to support the 5,000 Australian women diagnosed with gynaecological cancer each year. It is incredibly important that we continue to raise funds for urgently needed research into the causes, and more effective and gentler treatments for gynaecological cancer patients.


Question: How can Australians support the Cherish Women's Cancer Foundation?

Professor Andreas Obermair: There are many ways to get involved with the Cherish Women's Cancer Foundation and continue the support for gynaecological cancer treatment.

You can support the Cherish Women's Cancer Foundation by purchasing the CA-125 app for yourself or a loved one. All proceeds will go towards research into kinder and more effective treatments for gynaecological cancer patients. Or you can contact Cherish through our website.

Donations are vital for ongoing research and can be easily made through the Cherish Women's Cancer Foundation website at http://cherish.org.au/get-involved/make-a-donation/.


Question: What is the Cherish Women's Cancer Foundation's goal for the next twelve months?

Professor Andreas Obermair: The primary ongoing goal for the Cherish Women's Cancer Foundation is to find and fund clinical research into better treatments for gynaecological cancer patients. Over the next twelve months we hope to spread the word about the CA-125 app and help as many women as possible with ovarian cancer feel empowered on their journey.


Interview by Brooke Hunter

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