Biology, digested

Cancer Signs and Symptoms app by Cancer Research UK

I am a sucker for gadgets and technology! Applications or ‘apps’ for smartphones are increasingly becoming integrated into everyday life, to perform functions or to provide entertainment. The iphone store alone has 350,000 apps and counting, covering a wide range of themes, from astronomy to zombie games and before long most of us will have an app-friendly phone.

There are an overwhelming number of health apps now available. Some perform genuinely useful functions, whilst others are humorous, questionable, or even downright bizarre! Apps designed to locate the five nearest venues in NYC that distribute free condoms, weight loss hypnotisers and baby gender predictors are among these!

Fresh onto the scene is a free app from Cancer Research UK , which aims to help people find out more about the signs and symptoms of cancer and encourage people to see their GP. Admittedly this app may not excite you as much as say, mobile bartender, however it could be the most important thing in your pocket. Since one in four of all deaths in the UK are caused by cancer (1), everyone should care.

Early detection of cancer can often mean simpler treatment and a much improved chance of survival. In fact, research shows that regular screening reduces deaths from breast, cervical and colon cancer (2). Even for those cancers where overall survival is poor, the chances of surviving are better if diagnosed at an earlier stage.

Will it replace going to your GP in person? No. However, if this app encourages just one person to attend their GP, leading to the early diagnosis of cancer, then surely it was worth developing. The more information people have about their health, the better.

So by all means continue to download the latest ‘Mouthoff’ App to make your child’s mouth look like a cartoon monster…

…but give this free app a thought as well!

Available for iphone and android users (3), with an IPAD version on its way.

Those of you without a flashy new phone aren’t left out though, there is also an online version available (4). If in doubt, always check that the ­information is validated by the NHS.

(1)  http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/cancerstats/mortality/cancerdeaths/

(2)  http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/screening

(3)  http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/cancer-signs-and-symptoms/id429676749?mt=8

(4)  http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/spotcancerearly/cancersignandsymptoms/

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