In oncology, most research efforts focus on the development of new treatments, but sometimes we can improve the survival of patients with relatively simple systems: applications on smartphone or tablet type iPad.
At the big Asco Cancer Congress in Chicago, Dr. Ethan Basch, professor of medicine at the Lineberger Cancer Center at the University of Carolina
North, presented an application that allows cancer patients to inform their doctor about their condition for the duration of their treatment. And after several years, metastatic lung, breast and prostate cancer patients who had used the application lived an average of five months longer (life expectancy of 31 months, compared to 26 months in the control group who saw their oncologist once a month). This gain may seem modest, but it is actually very significant for such serious conditions. "Many patients who come in first consultation already have advanced lung cancer, and their chance of survival would be better if the disease was managed sooner"
Dr. Fabrice Denis
The program, called STaR, for "Symptom Tracking and Reporting", assesses how patients tolerate the sometimes severe side effects (nausea, pain, fatigue, breathing difficulties) associated with chemotherapy. "We found that the application to report these symptoms in real time alerts the healthcare team that can act without delay to relieve the sick," says Dr. Ethan Basch. In some cases, patients who no longer support side effects, or whose physical state is too weak, are forced to interrupt their treatment.
The initial goal of the study was to improve the quality of life of patients, but the doctors were pleased to note, ten years after the start of a study started in 2007, that there was a very significant gain. net for their life expectancy.
This US application, which improves and facilitates communication between the patient and his specialist physician, is still experimental and is not expected to be marketed directly. The first may come back to the French application Moovcare, which was presented last year at the Asco Congress by Dr. Fabrice Denis, oncologist at Le Mans. The clinical trial he conducted showed improved survival for patients who had recently had lung cancer by being able to detect relapses earlier. The application Moovcare, developed by the company Sivan Innovation, "is of great interest to the French health authorities and should be reimbursed by the National Health Insurance Fund by the end of the year," says Dr. Denis.
The French specialist believes that the algorithm he helped develop could help detect cancers in smokers. "We follow about twenty symptoms that are characteristic of the disease, such as persistent cough, weight loss, and should allow us to detect cancers of smokers much earlier," says Dr. Fabrice Denis. These symptoms, though very characteristic, have nothing secret, but most smokers ignore them. "Many patients who come for first visit already have advanced-stage lung cancer, while their chances of survival would be much better if the disease was managed earlier." The application, called SmokeCheck, should be operational this summer.