Officially launching this October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an Australian company's new app, Breast Cancer Recovery, will assist women globally who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, from their initial diagnosis through to their treatment and recovery.
Breast Cancer Recovery's founder, Sandra J De Poi, and the allied health medical team believe the app will make a positive difference to the lives of women going through the physically and emotionally challenging journey that is breast cancer.
With over 15,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer each year in Australia, and over 2 million women globally, the Breast Cancer Recovery app empowers women during this uncertain and overwhelming time to make clear and informed choices in all areas of their life, and avoid the "Google overload" and confusion that often follows a breast cancer diagnosis.
Breast Cancer Recovery provides a one-stop resource for women to achieve the best possible health outcomes, to optimise their treatment efficacy, to bounce back quicker, and to minimise their treatment side effects. The information in the app covers a range of topics including nutrition, food, recipes, fasting, vitamin D, lifestyle and mindfulness.
Importantly, with recent research demonstrating the benefits of exercise during chemotherapy treatment, unique to Breast Cancer Recovery are its individualised exercise programs that can be undertaken in the comfort of the user's own home and the app includes over 100 videos demonstrating each exercise.
Lauren Locke, the physiotherapist on the Breast Cancer Recovery team was instrumental in designing the app's exercise programs. "Often, going to the gym and exercising is one of the last things people undergoing breast cancer treatment feel like doing. Commonly, nausea, pain and fatigue are issues, so we wanted to create a tool that allowed women to undertake a researched exercise program in the comfort of their own home, at a time convenient to them," Lauren says.
Another member of the Breast Cancer Recovery team is Clinical Nutritionist, Megan Koerner, who used her biochemistry knowledge and experience to provide nutritional and lifestyle recommendations that have been proven to positively contribute to a breast cancer patient's treatment and recovery. "All the content in the app is based on the latest clinical and scientific evidence-based research, and it was produced in consultation with oncologists and general practitioners. We made the app to give women support and to make their breast cancer journey less confusing, all the while complementing the advice and treatments of their medical practitioners.
Even if women follow just two things in the app, it's going to have a positive impact on their recovery," Megan describes. Breast Cancer Recovery is available now for Apple and Android devices.
Question: Can you tell us about the Breast Cancer Recovery app?
Sandra J De Poi: Breast Cancer Recovery is a mobile app designed to give women with breast cancer a one-stop forum to aid them through their diagnosis, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery and recovery. Our goal is to provide a comprehensive tool that will greatly assist woman during and after their treatment. We want them to achieve the best possible health outcomes during their breast cancer journey. Our goals are to optimise treatment efficacy, minimise any side effects of treatment such as fatigue, nausea, poor mood and morbid thinking, and support healthy sleep patterns.
The information in Breast Cancer Recovery is presented as Journeys: Your Exercise Journey, Your Nutrition Journey, Your Fasting Journey, Your Vitamin D Journey, Your Lifestyle Journey, Your Mindfulness Journey, Your Food Journey and Recipes. We have presented our information as Journeys, because we believe breast cancer treatment and recovery can be a calm and conscious process in all facets of your life.
Ensuring optimal activity levels and nutritional intake has been demonstrated to have a positive effect across a vast range of outcomes, including a reduction in treatment side effects, treatment efficacy, cancer re-occurrence and mortality. We include and utilise the latest clinical and scientific evidenced-based research and provide the research reference points with hyperlinks to review the actual research papers supporting our information. We believe the app provides a sense of confidence to women, and will minimise the "Google overload" that often occurs after such a diagnosis, because they know we have provided comprehensive researched information on how they can facilitate a faster recovery.
With research overwhelming demonstrating the benefits of exercise during chemotherapy treatment, a unique function of Breast Cancer Recovery is Your Exercise Journey, which includes individualised exercise programs for women to do in the comfort of their own home, therefore negating the necessity to attend a gym or clinic whilst recovering from treatment. The app includes over 100 videos demonstrating each exercise across 9 individualised programs, with varying levels of intensity. The user is automatically streamed into one of the nine programs, based on initial data and responses when signing up, including their fitness levels and where they are at with their treatment. The app incorporates an ongoing feedback system which checks fatigue, mood and sleep levels and makes program adjustments as necessary. We also include a post-surgery recovery exercise protocol and a daily exercise routine.
Question: Who did you create this app for?
Sandra J De Poi: We recognise that a breast cancer diagnosis can be an overwhelming and often confusing time, with women often navigating "information overload" online and from potentially well-meaning family and friends. We created this app for every women who has had a breast cancer diagnosis. It is our ultimate aim that every women in the world will know about the Breast Cancer Recovery app at the point of diagnosis and for the app to be utilised as a tool at the beginning of their journey, so that we can maximise recovery rates, treatment bounce back, positive health outcomes, and reduced mortality rates globally.
Question: How did you go about creating this app?
Sandra J De Poi: The app was designed by an Australian app designer, Appliquette, along with the Breast Cancer Recovery team. The app has been 5 years in development and the content was researched and developed by the Breast Cancer Recovery team, Sandra J De Poi, Lauren Locke, Megan Koerner and Professor Tehereh Ziaian.
Question: What originally inspired the creation of Breast Cancer Recovery?
Sandra J De Poi: The inspiration came when I saw an episode of Catalyst on the ABC approximately 5 years ago, which revealed ground breaking research regarding the benefits of exercise during chemotherapy, and the effects it had on cancer recovery and mortality rates. Given my interest in women's health, I thought it would be wonderful if a comprehensive exercise regime could be provided for every women to conduct in the comfort of her home, as it can be quite overwhelming to go to a gym generally, let alone if a person is feeling unwell from the effects of chemotherapy. I pursued the research and gathered the best team, then broadened the programme to include other key areas such as food, nutrition and mindfulness. It has resulted in a comprehensive app covering almost all areas which will impact breast cancer recovery.
Question: What message do you hope to spread ahead of Breast Cancer Awareness Month?
Sandra J De Poi: To every woman who has had a breast cancer diagnosis, there are many simple things you can do to optimise your health and speed up your recovery during your breast cancer treatment and recovery. All the tools and information provided in our app are research-based, and we are confident that if you adopt just one or two of the Journeys, you will have a speedier recovery. We've ensured that at all times our information is evidenced-based and supported by the latest clinical and scientific research, so this tool will give you the confidence to navigate your breast cancer journey with comprehensive and informed pathways.
Interview by Brooke Hunter