October 6, 2012 7:17:21 PM
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and if the men in the National Football League can wear pink, surely the rest of us can use technology to prevent, diagnose and beat breast cancer.
Research shows that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and early detection is important.
Smartphone apps can help with this. The Breast Self Exam app ($1.99), created for both iPhone and iPad, shows you how to do a self-exam and tracks tissue changes over time. If you don't like doing your self-exam and you have a slightly wicked sense of humor, try the free app Your Man Reminder. This app lets you select one of six handsome devils to walk you through the exam. It's best not to tell your husband about that app; we'll just keep it between us.
The National Breast Cancer Foundation has two apps available: the Early Detection Plan (iPhone) and Beyond the Shock (iPhone and iPad). Beyond the Shock helps those who have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer learn about cancer and treatments and get answers to their questions. If information is what you are looking for, consider the Breast Cancer Information app created by the National Institute for Health. This is available for both the iPhone and the Android.
Breastcancer.org has an app called My Breast Cancer Coach. This app uses the results of your pathology report to describe the cancer stage, suggest possible treatment options, list questions to ask your doctor, and suggest exercise plans and healthy eating options. The app certainly does not replace talking to your doctor, but it is a starting point to help you begin the discussion.
Finding a doctor can be difficult. Usually the best way is by word of mouth, but if you are new to an area, check out the American Medical Association's Doctor Finder website: https://extapps.ama-assn.org/doctorfinder/home.jsp.
Figuring out what to fix for dinner when going through chemotherapy can be difficult. Spouses and family members still need to eat, even when cancer patients never know what they will be able to stomach.
The American Cancer Society's cookbook, What to Eat During Cancer Treatments, has various recipes suitable for patients dealing with nausea, sore mouth, and other side effects. You can find a few recipes for friends undergoing chemotherapy at http://www.cfthrive.com/recipes.aspx. Other eating tips can be found at http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/coping/eatinghints.pdf.
If you're going through cancer treatment, your family, friends and church community will probably want to bring you meals. Scheduling their drop offs and deliveries can be just as tiring as getting up to make a PB& J sandwich for yourself on treatment day. Try using the website takethemameal.com/ to take some of the stress out of scheduling.
This month, as 300-pound linebackers run up and down the football field in pink, use the technology at your fingertips to beat breast cancer.