Breast Cancer Online: Top Apps

PJ Hamel Health Guide
  • It’s challenging to wade through all the hundreds of breast cancer apps out there. Here are the ones I feel are truly useful to women dealing with breast cancer. 


    Wouldn’t it be nice, the next time you’re visiting your oncologist, to be able to take out your iPhone and tell the doctor exactly what side effects you had, on what days, after your last chemo treatment? Or better yet – email the information without ever typing an email?


    Or quickly tell a nurse specifically what medicines you’re taking, on what schedule, when she’s trying to figure out drug interactions? 


    Or how about being able to post treatment updates to family and friends via your CaringBridge account – while you’re hanging out in the waiting room with nothing to do? 

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    Welcome to the world of breast cancer apps.


    If you have a smart phone or tablet, you’ve probably loaded it with a bunch of applications (“apps”). Like Google Earth. Or Candy Crush Saga; playing games is actually the most widespread use of apps. 


    Apps can be as simple as connecting to Facebook; or as complex as scanning the barcode of a package of cookies at the supermarket, getting their nutritional analysis, and reading suggestions for what might be a healthier choice.


    When you find the right apps, ones you like and use, they can quickly become part of your daily life – a kind of personal assistant helping you remember appointments and shopping lists, navigate from Point A to Point B, and connect with friends. 


    Not surprisingly, apps can also help you manage your breast cancer.


    There are literally millions of apps available; most are free, and most of the rest cost a minimal amount. But there are very few that are truly useful for dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis. 


    There are a lot of apps that show you how to do a breast self exam, then send you a monthly reminder to do it. And many offer pink ribbon wallpaper, or promote breast cancer awareness, or aggregate cancer news. 


    But for pure utility, I’ve found less than a handful of apps that will help you through your breast cancer diagnosis and ensuing treatment – or that of your mom, sister, or BFF. 


    Let’s check out my favorites.


    Breast Cancer Diagnosis Guide

    Developed by

    Version reviewed: 1.4

    For: iPhone, iTouch, iPad

    Cost: FREE


    This app is a great tool for recording and using details of your diagnosis. You’ll access your pathology report to fill in information ranging from general (type of cancer, size of tumor) to specific (numbers on your ER/PR test). 


    Once all this data is entered, will send you links to useful articles on its site specific to your diagnosis. For instance, if you’re a post-menopausal woman with ER/PR-receptive breast cancer, you may be linked to a study on aromatase inhibitors. 


    Developed by a well-respected non-profit,, the site also has an incredibly helpful glossary of breast cancer terms. Want to know what lymphatic invasion is? Wondering about the Ki-67 test? How about cribiform DCIS? Simply scroll through the app’s comprehensive word list for definitions of many of the confusing terms you’ll find in your pathology report.


    One negative: navigation among screens can be confusing and difficult. But once you figure it out, there’s a lot of solid information here.



    Developed by two-time cancer survivor Naomi R. Bartley

    Version reviewed: 1.2  

    For: iPhone, iTouch, iPad

    Cost: $2.99


    While this app isn’t free, it’s an incredibly useful tool for managing treatment information. You know what a challenge it is to keep track of chemo drugs, hormone drugs, side effects (and their treatments), lab results, doctor appointments, your changeable radiation schedule… iCANcer not only stores all of this information (and more); it allows you to email any part of it, easily, to your provider, or a family member or friend who’s helping you. 

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    iCANcer graphs chemo side effects over time on a calendar, so you can plan your activities around future treatments; ditto lab results, and data from other tests. (Is your white cell count getting worse with each treatment, or is the Neulasta helping? How’s your blood pressure trending?)


    If you’re worried about lifetime exposure to certain chemo drugs, or to radiation, iCANcer will track the specific doses you’re receiving of any drug or treatment, along with its date; then compile totals for you. 


    This app is also a simple tool for storing basic information: your appointment calendar (which you can synch with your iPhone/iPad calendar); and contact information for providers. A list of handy online resources ranges from the American Cancer Society, to the National Cancer Institute drug dictionary.


    In short, this is a robust tool for managing treatment – for yourself, or a loved one.


    Developed by

    Version: 6.1.4

    For: iPhone, iTouch, iPad

    Cost: FREE


    CaringBridge is a well-known Web site for people dealing with serious illness; it allows the patient to stay in touch with family and friends. 


    Start your own page on CaringBridge, then share the URL with those to whom you want to stay connected. That way, instead of writing or calling a whole list of people with updates on how your surgery went, your diagnosis, or how you’re feeling after treatment, you simply update your CB page, and anyone with whom you’ve shared the address can read what you’ve written. You can also maintain a photo album – if your great aunt in Montana wants to see how much your hair’s grown back!


    You don’t necessarily have to create a page for yourself; perhaps it’s a friend, your sister, or your mom who’s undergoing treatment. If you’re the go-to caregiver, author and maintain a page for them. It’s a lot easier and more effective to post updates to a single page, than it is to contact folks one by one. 


    CaringBridge is as much mobile-friendly Web site as app, but I wanted to include it here simply because it’s a useful, free service; and it’s a way to pass time while you’re sitting in the waiting room. Rather than read those dog-eared copies of People magazine, update your CaringBridge page. Your loved ones will thank you.


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    Breast Cancer: Beyond the Shock

    Developed by the National Breast Cancer Foundation

    Version: 1.6

    For: iPhone, iTouch, iPad

    Cost: FREE


    Warning: you can’t access any part of this app without registering. But once you get past the rather confusing registration/login process, you’ll find a cleanly designed, simple to use forum geared towards women in the first stages of diagnosis and treatment.


    Seven very short, very simple videos offer the basics of breast cancer and its treatment, from a medical and scientific point of view. But the app’s main benefit is emotional support – from a series of video postcards (“stories of hope”) from survivors, to the vibrant, helpful community in the “ask” section.


    Hey, what about other devices? 

    Unfortunately, apps for Android and others seem to be lagging behind those for Apple devices. One app Droid users might find helpful is Breast Cancer Glossary, which is just what its name implies: a comprehensive glossary of breast cancer terminology, especially useful during initial diagnosis and treatment.



    Holland, K. (2014, May 27). The 15 Best Breast Cancer iPhone & Android Apps of 2014. Retrieved August 31, 2014, from 




Published On: September 13, 2014