Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 23, Issue 7, pp 2183–2188 | Cite as

Optimizing cancer care through mobile health

  • Bassel Odeh
  • Reem Kayyali
  • Shereen Nabhani-Gebara
  • Nada Philip
Review Article


The survival rates for patients living with cancer are increasing, due to recent advances in detection, prevention and treatment. It has been estimated that there were 28 million cancer survivors around the world in 2012. In the UK, for patients diagnosed in 2007, it is predicted that more than half of them will survive their cancer for 5 years or more. A large majority of cancer survivors report unmet supportive care needs and distressing symptoms and adverse long-term consequences related to their cancer. Cancer management could be optimized to better meet patients demand through technology, including mobile health (m-Health). m-Health is defined as the use of mobile communications and network technologies for health care. m-Health can help both patients and health-care professionals and play an important part in managing and delivering cancer care including managing side effects, supporting drug adherence, providing cancer information, planning and follow up and detecting and diagnosing cancer. Health authorities have already published guidelines regulating m-Health to insure patient safety and improve the accountability of its applications.


Cancer care Mobile health Regulations 


Conflict of interest

None declared.


  1. 1.
    American Cancer Society (2014) Cancer facts and statistics. American Cancer Society. Accessed 24 Mar 2014
  2. 2.
    Cancer Research UK (2014) Cancer survival statistics. Cancer Research UK. Accessed 24 Mar 2014
  3. 3.
    Boyes AW, Girgis A, D’Este C, Zucca AC (2012) Prevalence and correlates of cancer survivors’ supportive care needs 6 months after diagnosis: a population-based cross-sectional study. BMC Cancer 12(1):150CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Williamson S (2011) A report on the dispensing and supply of oral chemotherapy and systemic anticancer medicines in primary care. BOPA, RPS, NPAGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Istepanian R, Laxminarayan S, Pattichis CS (2006) M-health: emerging mobile health systems. In: Istepanian R, Laxminarayan S, Pattichis CS (eds) 2006 XXX, 624 p 182 illus 0-387-26558-9 Berlin: Springer, 1Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    WHO (2010) mHealth new horizons for health through mobile technologies. Global observatory for eHealth series, vol 3. WHO, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    ABI Research (2014) Q4 2013 Smartphone OS results: is Google losing control of the android ecosystem?Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Sanou B (2013) The World in 2013: ICT facts and figures. International Telecommunications UnionGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Bender JL, Yue RYK, To MJ, Deacken L, Jadad AR (2013) A lot of action, but not in the right direction: systematic review and content analysis of smartphone applications for the prevention, detection, and management of cancer. J Med Internet Res 15(12)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Klasnja P, Pratt W (2012) Healthcare in the pocket: mapping the space of mobile-phone health interventions. J Biomed Inform 45(1):184–198PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Wangberg SC, Årsand E, Andersson N (2006) Diabetes education via mobile text messaging. J Telemed Telecare 12(suppl 1):55–56PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Chomutare T, Fernandez-Luque L, Årsand E, Hartvigsen G (2011) Features of mobile diabetes applications: review of the literature and analysis of current applications compared against evidence-based guidelines. J Med Internet Res 13(3)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Krishna S, Boren SA, Balas EA (2009) Healthcare via cell phones: a systematic review. Telemed e-Health 15(3):231–240Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Holtz B, Lauckner C (2012) Diabetes management via mobile phones: a systematic review. Telemed e-Health 18(3):175–184Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Scherr D, Zweiker R, Kollmann A, Kastner P, Schreier G, Fruhwald F (2006) Mobile phone-based surveillance of cardiac patients at home. J Telemed Telecare 12(5):255–261PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Rubel P, Fayn J, Nollo G, Assanelli D, Li B, Restier L, Adami S, Arod S, Atoui H, Ohlsson M (2005) Toward personal eHealth in cardiology. Results from the EPI-MEDICS telemedicine project. J Electrocardiol 38(4):100–106PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Rosser BA, Eccleston C (2011) Smartphone applications for pain management. J Telemed Telecare 17(6):308–312PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Pandey A, Hasan S, Dubey D, Sarangi S (2013) Smartphone apps as a source of cancer information: changing trends in health information-seeking behavior. J Cancer Educ 28(1):138–142PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Obermayer JL, Riley WT, Asif O, Jean-Mary J (2004) College smoking-cessation using cell phone text messaging. J Am Coll Health 53(2):71–78PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Haug S, Meyer C, Schorr G, Bauer S, John U (2009) Continuous individual support of smoking cessation using text messaging: a pilot experimental study. Nicotine Tob Res 11(8):915–923PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Fairhurst K, Sheikh A (2008) Texting appointment reminders to repeated non-attenders in primary care: randomised controlled study. Qual Saf Health Care 17(5):373–376PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Consolvo S, Klasnja P, McDonald DW, Avrahami D, Froehlich J, LeGrand L, Libby R, Mosher K, Landay JA (2008) Flowers or a robot army?: encouraging awareness & activity with personal, mobile displays. In: Proceedings of the 10th international conference on Ubiquitous computing. ACM, pp 54–63Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Department of Health (2007) The cancer reform strategy. LondonGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    NHS Scotland (2007) Better health, better care: a discussion document. Scottish Executive, EdinburghGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Dranitsaris G, Maroun J, Shah A (2005) Estimating the cost of illness in colorectal cancer patients who were hospitalized for severe chemotherapy-induced diarrhea. Can J Gastroenterol 19(2):83–87PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Chen-Hardee S, Chrischilles EA, Voelker MD, Brooks JM, Scott S, Link BK, Delgado D (2006) Population-based assessment of hospitalizations for neutropenia from chemotherapy in older adults with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (United States). Cancer Causes Control 17(5):647–654PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Kuderer NM, Dale DC, Crawford J, Cosler LE, Lyman GH (2006) Mortality, morbidity, and cost associated with febrile neutropenia in adult cancer patients. Cancer 106(10):2258–2266CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Coolbrandt A, Van den Heede K, Vanhove E, De Bom A, Milisen K, Wildiers H (2011) Immediate versus delayed self-reporting of symptoms and side effects during chemotherapy: does timing matter? Eur J Oncol Nurs 15(2):130–136PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Homsi J, Walsh D, Rivera N, Rybicki LA, Nelson KA, LeGrand SB, Davis M, Naughton M, Gvozdjan D, Pham H (2006) Symptom evaluation in palliative medicine: patient report vs systematic assessment. Support Care Cancer 14(5):444–453PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Kayyali R, Nabhani-Gebara S, Olszewska A, Adeniyi M (2012) Investigation of bowel and breast cancer patients’ perception of counselling and written information provided regarding the oral chemotherapy agent capecitabine. Int J Pharm Pract 20(S2):85Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Nabhani-Gebara S, Kayyali R, Olszewska A (2013) Patient counselling—a dying art? Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf 22(6):684–685Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Nabhani-Gebara S, Kayyali R, Olszewska A (2012) Patients’ perception of educational material surrounding their cancer treatment. Eur J Oncol Nurs 16(S1):S30Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Weaver A, Young A, Rowntree J, Townsend N, Pearson S, Smith J, Gibson O, Cobern W, Larsen M, Tarassenko L (2007) Application of mobile phone technology for managing chemotherapy-associated side-effects. Ann Oncol 18(11):1887–1892PubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Maguire R, Miller M, Sage M, Norrie J, McCann L, Taylor L, Kearney N (2005) Results of a UK based pilot study of a mobile phone based advanced symptom management system (ASyMS) in the remote monitoring of chemotherapy related toxicity. Clin Eff Nurs 9(3):202–210Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Ghafoor S, Kayyali R, Nabhani-Gebara S, Sobnath D, Philip N (2013) Evaluating patients’ acceptability of alternative means of support for oral chemotherapy counselling and side effect management using a smartphone application. Int J Pharm Pract 21(2):27–28Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Maguire R, McCann L, Miller M, Kearney N (2008) Nurse’s perceptions and experiences of using of a mobile-phone-based Advanced Symptom Management System (ASyMS©) to monitor and manage chemotherapy-related toxicity. Eur J Oncol Nurs 12(4):380–386PubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Kearney N, McCann L, Norrie J, Taylor L, Gray P, McGee-Lennon M, Sage M, Miller M, Maguire R (2009) Evaluation of a mobile phone-based, advanced symptom management system (ASyMS©) in the management of chemotherapy-related toxicity. Support Care Cancer 17(4):437–444PubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Gibson F, Aldiss S, Taylor RM, Maguire R, McCann L, Sage M, Kearney N (2010) Utilization of the Medical Research Council Evaluation Framework in the Development of Technology for Symptom Management: the ASyMS (c)-YG Study. Cancer Nurs 33(5):343–352PubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Baggott C (2013) Patient-reported outcomes collected via smartphone: adolescent cancer patients’ nausea trajectories. Eur J Oncol Nurs 17(6):895Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Partridge AH, Avorn J, Wang PS, Winer EP (2002) Adherence to therapy with oral antineoplastic agents. J Natl Cancer Inst 94(9):652–661PubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Partridge AH, Ades T, Spicer P, Englander L, Wickerham DL (2007) Helping breast cancer patients adhere to oral adjuvant hormonal therapy regimens. Commun Oncol 4(12):725–731Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Bedell CH (2003) A changing paradigm for cancer treatment: the advent of new oral chemotherapy agents. Clin J Oncol Nurs 7:5–9PubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Thompson AMDJ, Fahey T, McCowan C (2007) Association of poor adherence to prescribed tamoxifen with risk of death from breast cancer. In: American Society of Clinical Oncology Breast Cancer Symposium USAGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Ruddy K, Mayer E, Partridge A (2009) Patient adherence and persistence with oral anticancer treatment. CA Cancer J Clin 59(1):56–66. doi: 10.3322/caac.20004 PubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Banna GL, Collova E, Gebbia V, Lipari H, Giuffrida P, Cavallaro S, Condorelli R, Buscarino C, Tralongo P, Ferrau F (2010) Anticancer oral therapy: emerging related issues. Cancer Treat Rev 36(8):595–605. doi: 10.1016/j.ctrv.2010.04.005 PubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Moore S (2007) Facilitating oral chemotherapy treatment and compliance through patient/family-focused education. Cancer Nurs 30(2):112–122PubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Decker V, Spoelstra S, Miezo E, Bremer R, You M, Given C, Given B (2009) A pilot study of an automated voice response system and nursing intervention to monitor adherence to oral chemotherapy agents. Cancer Nurs 32(6):E20–E29PubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Becker S, Kribben A, Meister S, Diamantidis CJ, Unger N, Mitchell A (2013) User profiles of a smartphone application to support drug adherence—experiences from the iNephro project. PLoS One 8(10):e78547CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Smith TJ, Dow LA, Virago E, Khatcheressian J, Lyckholm LJ, Matsuyama R (2010) Giving honest information to patients with advanced cancer maintains hope. Oncology 24(6):521–525PubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Smith TJ, Dow LA, Virago EA, Khatcheressian J, Matsuyama R, Lyckholm LJ (2011) A pilot trial of decision aids to give truthful prognostic and treatment information to chemotherapy patients with advanced cancer. J Support Oncol 9(2):79PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Matsuyama RK, Wilson-Genderson M, Kuhn L, Moghanaki D, Vachhani H, Paasche-Orlow M (2011) Education level, not health literacy, associated with information needs for patients with cancer. Patient Educ Couns 85(3):e229–e236PubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Dieng M, Trevena L, Turner RM, Wadolowski M, McCaffery K (2013) What Australian women want and when they want it: cervical screening testing preferences, decision‐making styles and information needs. Health Expect 16(2):177–188PubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Mistry A, Wilson S, Priestman T, Damery S, Haque M (2010) How do the information needs of cancer patients differ at different stages of the cancer journey? A cross-sectional survey. JRSM Short Rep 1(4):30PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    Halkett GK, Kristjanson LJ, Lobb E, Little J, Shaw T, Taylor M, Spry N (2012) Information needs and preferences of women as they proceed through radiotherapy for breast cancer. Patient Educ Couns 86(3):396–404PubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Güleser GN, Taşci S, Kaplan B (2012) The experience of symptoms and information needs of cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy. J Cancer Educ 27(1):46–53PubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    Klasnja P, Hartzler A, Powell C, Phan G, Pratt W (2010) Health weaver mobile: designing a mobile tool for managing personal health information during cancer care. In: AMIA Annual Symposium Proceedings. American Medical Informatics Association, p 392Google Scholar
  57. 57.
    Payne KFB, Wharrad H, Watts K (2012) Smartphone and medical related App use among medical students and junior doctors in the United Kingdom (UK): a regional survey. BMC Med Inform Decis Mak 12(1):121PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    O’Neill S, Brady R (2012) Colorectal smartphone apps: opportunities and risks. Color Dis 14(9):e530–e534Google Scholar
  59. 59.
    Bibault J-E, Leroy T, Blanchard P, Biau J, Cervellera M, Diaz O, Faivre JC, Fumagalli I, Lescut N, Martin V (2014) Mobile technology and social media in the clinical practice of young radiation oncologists: results of a comprehensive nationwide cross-sectional study. Int J Radiat Oncol* Biol* PhysGoogle Scholar
  60. 60.
    Rozati H, Shah SP, Shah N (2014) Smartphone applications for the clinical oncologist in UK practice. J Cancer Educ 1–7Google Scholar
  61. 61.
    Brennan ME, Butow P, Marven M, Spillane AJ, Boyle FM (2011) Survivorship care after breast cancer treatment—experiences and preferences of Australian women. Breast 20(3):271–277PubMedGoogle Scholar
  62. 62.
    Khatcheressian JL, Hurley P, Bantug E, Esserman LJ, Grunfeld E, Halberg F, Hantel A, Henry NL, Muss HB, Smith TJ (2013) Breast cancer follow-up and management after primary treatment: American Society of Clinical Oncology clinical practice guideline update. J Clin Oncol 31(7):961–965PubMedGoogle Scholar
  63. 63.
    Hall SJ, Samuel LM, Murchie P (2011) Toward shared care for people with cancer: developing the model with patients and GPs. Fam Pract 28(5):554–564PubMedGoogle Scholar
  64. 64.
    Pascoe SW, Neal RD, Allgar VL, Selby PJ, Wright EP (2004) Psychosocial care for cancer patients in primary care? Recognition of opportunities for cancer care. Fam Pract 21(4):437–442PubMedGoogle Scholar
  65. 65.
    Rozmovits L, Rose P, Ziebland S (2004) In the absence of evidence, who chooses? A qualitative study of patients’ needs after treatment for colorectal cancer. J Health Serv Res Policy 9(3):159–164PubMedGoogle Scholar
  66. 66.
    Cox K, Wilson E, Heath L, Collier J, Jones L, Johnston I (2006) Preferences for follow-up after treatment for lung cancer: assessing the nurse-led option. Cancer Nurs 29(3):176–187PubMedGoogle Scholar
  67. 67.
    Donnelly P, Hiller L, Bathers S, Bowden S, Coleman R (2007) Questioning specialists’ attitudes to breast cancer follow-up in primary care. Ann OncolGoogle Scholar
  68. 68.
    Okera M, Baker NA, Hayward A, Selva‐Nayagam S (2011) Oncology workforce issues: the challenge of the outpatient clinic. Intern Med J 41(6):499–503PubMedGoogle Scholar
  69. 69.
    Green J, Murchie P, Lee AJ (2013) Does patients’ place of residence affect the type of physician performing primary excision of cutaneous melanoma in northern Scotland? J Rural Health 29(s1):s35–s42PubMedGoogle Scholar
  70. 70.
    Dickinson R, Hall S, Sinclair JE, Bond C, Murchie P (2014) Using technology to deliver cancer follow-up: a systematic review. BMC Cancer 14(1):311CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  71. 71.
    Matthew AG, Currie KL, Irvine J, Ritvo P, Santa Mina D, Jamnicky L, Nam R, Trachtenberg J (2007) Serial personal digital assistant data capture of health-related quality of life: a randomized controlled trial in a prostate cancer clinic. Health Qual Life Outcomes 5:38PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  72. 72.
    Ott J, Ullrich A, Miller A (2009) The importance of early symptom recognition in the context of early detection and cancer survival. Eur J Cancer 45(16):2743–2748PubMedGoogle Scholar
  73. 73.
    Pontén J, Adami HO, Bergström R, Dillner J, Friberg LG, Gustafsson L, Miller AB, Parkin DM, Sparén P, Trichopoulos D (1995) Strategies for global control of cervical cancer. Int J Cancer 60(1):1–26PubMedGoogle Scholar
  74. 74.
    Teppo L, Dickman PW, Hakulinen T, Luostarinen T, Pukkala E, Sankila R, Söderman B (1999) Cancer patient survival—patterns, comparisons, trends: a population-based cancer registry study in Finland. Acta Oncol 38(3):283–294PubMedGoogle Scholar
  75. 75.
    Richards M, Westcombe A, Love S, Littlejohns P, Ramirez A (1999) Influence of delay on survival in patients with breast cancer: a systematic review. Lancet 353(9159):1119–1126PubMedGoogle Scholar
  76. 76.
    Sant M, Allemani C, Capocaccia R, Hakulinen T, Aareleid T, Coebergh JW, Coleman MP, Grosclaude P, Martinez C, Bell J (2003) Stage at diagnosis is a key explanation of differences in breast cancer survival across Europe. Int J Cancer 106(3):416–422PubMedGoogle Scholar
  77. 77.
    Vis AN, Roemeling S, Reedijk AM, Otto SJ, Schröder FH (2008) Overall survival in the intervention arm of a randomized controlled screening trial for prostate cancer compared with a clinically diagnosed cohort. Eur Urol 53(1):91–98PubMedGoogle Scholar
  78. 78.
    Wang J-H, Changchien C-S, Hu T-H, Lee C-M, Kee K-M, Lin C-Y, Chen C-L, Chen T-Y, Huang Y-J, Lu S-N (2008) The efficacy of treatment schedules according to Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer staging for hepatocellular carcinoma—survival analysis of 3892 patients. Eur J Cancer 44(7):1000–1006PubMedGoogle Scholar
  79. 79.
    Horn L-C, Fischer U, Raptis G, Bilek K, Hentschel B (2007) Tumor size is of prognostic value in surgically treated FIGO stage II cervical cancer. Gynecol Oncol 107(2):310–315PubMedGoogle Scholar
  80. 80.
    Wolf JA, Moreau JF, Akilov O, Patton T, English JC, Ho J, Ferris LK (2013) Diagnostic inaccuracy of smartphone applications for melanoma detection. JAMA Dermatol 149(4):422–426PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  81. 81.
    Maier T, Kulichova D, Schotten K, Astrid R, Ruzicka T, Berking C, Udrea A (2014) Accuracy of a smartphone application using fractal image analysis of pigmented moles compared to clinical diagnosis and histological result. J Eur Acad Dermatol VenereolGoogle Scholar
  82. 82.
    Mobasheri MH, Johnston M, King D, Leff D, Thiruchelvam P, Darzi A (2014) Smartphone breast applications—what’s the evidence? Breast. doi: 10.1016/j.breast.2014.07.006 PubMedGoogle Scholar
  83. 83.
    Yuan C (2014) Mobile health in cancer care: a new solution or a potential risk? Cancer Nurs 37(2):83PubMedGoogle Scholar
  84. 84.
    Agu E, Pedersen P, Strong D, Tulu B, He Q, Wang L, Li Y (2013) The smartphone as a medical device: assessing enablers, benefits and challenges. In: Internet-of-Things Networking and Control (IoT-NC), 2013 I.E. International Workshop of. IEEE, pp 48–52Google Scholar
  85. 85.
    McCartney M (2013) How do we know whether medical apps work? BMJ: Br Med J 346Google Scholar
  86. 86.
    Buijink AWG, Visser BJ, Marshall L (2012) Medical apps for smartphones: lack of evidence undermines quality and safety. Evidence Based Medicine:ebmed-2012-100885Google Scholar
  87. 87.
    Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) (2014) Guidance on medical device stand-alone software (including apps). Accessed 21 Aug 2014
  88. 88.
    NHS Choices (2014) Health apps library. Accessed 21 Aug 2014
  89. 89.
    European Commission (2012) MEDDEV 2.1/6 -Guidelines on the qualification and classification of stand alone software used in healthcare within the regulatory framework of medical devicesGoogle Scholar
  90. 90.
    US Food and Drug Administration (2013) Mobile medical applications: guidance for Industry and Food and Drug Administration StaffGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bassel Odeh
    • 1
    • 2
  • Reem Kayyali
    • 1
    • 2
  • Shereen Nabhani-Gebara
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nada Philip
    • 2
  1. 1.Drug Discovery, Delivery and Patient Care (DDDPC) Centre, School of Pharmacy and ChemistryKingston UniversityKingston upon ThamesUK
  2. 2.Medical Information and Network Technologies (MINT) Centre, School of Computing and Information SystemsKingston UniversityKingston upon ThamesUK

Personalised recommendations