Breast Cancer Explained: Cork University Hospital launches app
A new breast cancer app, FYI: Breast Cancer, has been launched by Cork University Hospital (CUH) in response to the startling figure that one third of women attending breast cancer clinics in Ireland have limited health literacy.
The app, which has been funded entirely by the CUH Charity, answers the top 50 most searched for questions about breast cancer on the internet in straightforward, plain English. It explains what breast cancer is, the different types of breast cancer, what a breast cancer diagnosis means and what treatments are available.
The app was developed in conjunction with the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA) and the Department of Computer Science and School of Nursing and Midwifery at University College Cork following the results of research conducted by CUH, which found that health literacy rates are low in Ireland, and that lower literacy means that people are more likely to miscalculate their risk of breast cancer.
The same study by the CUH found that more than 83% of women actually overestimate their risk of developing breast cancer.
Speaking about the app, Consultant Breast Surgeon Mark Corrigan explained: “As much as 90% of medical information on the internet is inaccurate or difficult to read. To counter this, and to clearly explain the facts about breast cancer and dispel the myths, we have developed the FYI: Breast Cancer app. It has been made in a very user friendly format, and answers the most commonly asked questions.”
According to Mr Corrigan, in spite of the host of inaccurate medical information available on the internet, it is still the most widely used source of information.
“More and more, we see that patients attending a breast cancer clinic are using the internet for information. With 90% of patients using a mobile phone on a daily basis, we decided that an app would be the best way to communicate correct, easy to read information. We hope that the FYI: Breast Cancer app will make a major difference to the hundreds of women attending breast cancer clinics who find themselves overwhelmed by the medical information they are given,” he said.
CUH Charity, which funded the development of the app, helps to aid the funding of essential equipment and services for Cork University Hospital. It is hoped that the success of the app will pave the way for similar apps in other fields, such as prostate cancer, colorectal cancer and diabetes.
Commenting on the launch of the app, Chairman of the CUH Charity Professor Michael Molloy said:
“We are thrilled to have been able to fund this hugely important app. It is very much thanks to our very generous supporters that we have been able to create this. We are now looking at raising funds to create other similar informative apps, having seen first-hand the difference this app is making.”
The FYI: Breast Cancer app is available to download on both Android and iPhone.
A video explaining the story behind the app is available to view on CUH YouTube Channel.