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Mobile App for Breast Cancer Survivors Promote Healthy Lifestyle Choices and Weight Loss
Mobile App for Breast Cancer Survivors Promote Healthy Lifestyle Choices and Weight Loss
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Breast cancer treatment often leads to unintentional weight gain, which is concerning because obesity is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer recurrence and a higher rate of hospital readmissions.
Renee Stubbins, PhD
Stephen T.C. Wong, PhD
While weight management tools are among the most frequently accessed health apps, most are not tailored to the specific needs of cancer survivors. Stephen T. C. Wong, PhD, John S. Dunn, Sr. Presidential Distinguished Chair in Biomedical Engineering and his informatics development team designed a mobile app called The Methodist Hospital Cancer Health Application or MOCHA to be an interactive resource that helps post-treatment cancer survivors to make healthy lifestyle choices including weight loss.
Maintaining a healthy weight is difficult enough for the average person, let alone for breast cancer survivors. With MOCHA, we can track multiple patients at once, identify those who need additional support or intervention and communicate with them via real-time messaging to help them stay motivated. This is a tremendous improvement from the typical 6-month clinic visit schedule for breast cancer survivors, between which patients can lose motivation and experience weight gain.”
Renee Stubbins, PhD
Houston Methodist
A four-week pilot study of the MOCHA app revealed that 56 percent of enrolled patients lost an average of 3.5 pounds and that frequency of app use was positively linked with weight loss. The complete results are available in the journal, JCO Clinical Cancer Informatics. The next phase of this study will involve 12 weeks of intervention and one year of follow-up. While the app is currently accessible only to study participants, the goal is to broaden its use and focus on changing long-term behaviors to reduce health issues most common in cancer survivors.
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