Singapore

‘Buddy’ app for cancer patients

From tracking their medical appointments to getting advice on the spot, cancer patients will soon be able to do these and more with a new mobile app developed by the National University Cancer Institute Singapore (NCIS).

The app is designed to support patients in all their cancer-related needs and is the first holistic app for cancer patients here.

Announcing its launch at the institute's fund-raising gala dinner yesterday, NCIS director Chng Wee Joo said: "It is like a buddy for patients, a buddy to follow them and be with them throughout their cancer journey."

Apart from monitoring the patient's condition and keeping track of appointments and medication schedules, the app also provides customised advice in areas such as diet, exercise and medical procedures.

It can also answer cancer-related questions via a chatbot.

Professor Chng hopes the app will empower patients to take better care of themselves, as they will have information that allows them to feel more involved in their treatment.

The app will be made available to 200 breast and colorectal cancer patients by the second quarter next year, and there are plans to roll this out to more, said Prof Chng.

This is one of the new initiatives NCIS has embarked on as part of its 10th anniversary celebrations this year, he said.

Another initiative is the "home stem cell transplant system", which allows stem cell transplant patients to be cared for at home after the transplant, instead of in hospital, he said.

Under this system, trained nurses go to the patient's home for checks thrice a week.

Trial sessions started in January, and this option is now available to patients undergoing autologous stem cell transplants - a common treatment for blood cancers such as multiple myeloma.

Former cancer patient Yeo Wee Lee, 44, said the new system allowed him to recuperate in the comfort of his own home.

Mr Yeo, who is married with one son, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma last July and underwent a stem cell transplant in January. He was the first patient to try out the system.

"It is just much better being at home. It is cleaner, there is less risk of infections, and it is a nicer place to rest overall," said Mr Yeo, who works in the healthcare sector.

MEDICAL & HEALTH