Axillary treatment for breast cancer is often associated with arm and shoulder problems such as decreased function and strength and pain. Early postoperative exercise is proven to be a safe and effective intervention to reduce these problems. Advice on postoperative exercises is routinely given in breast clinics, but adherence to the exercises at home is sub-optimal and supervised exercise-programs are usually not available.Mobile health (mHealth) applications (apps) for smartphones and tablet computers are a rapidly growing trend in healthcare and a promising new strategy for health behaviour changes. A recent review of smartphone breast disease applications identified 139 breast cancer apps, mainly educational or self-assessment tools or aimed at raising awareness. However, the lack of user-centred and evidence-based designs and limited healthcare professional involvement during the app development is concerning. In this pilot study we developed and designed a prototype app (bWell) for smartphones and tablets to support self-management of arm and shoulder exercises for those affected by breast cancer. The app was developed together with breast cancer patients and health care professionals. bWell is a complete, mobile resource for people with breast cancer and a step-by-step guide on how to perform the arm and shoulder exercises. The app was tested in a small group of patients with breast cancer. An application to fund a large randomised controlled trial into the benefits of mHealth during the recovery of breast cancer treatment is currently under review.
Poster - The development of a mobile application for self-management of arm and shoulder exercises after breast cancer treatment - presented at European Breast Cancer Conference (EBCC-10 9-11 March 2016)