It could be another habit acquired during the pandemic. But the fact is that Brazilians currently spend more time on wellness and health apps. In 2020, according to the international consultancy App Annie, total downloads in this area grew 45% compared to the previous year, surpassing the world high of 30%. In addition to digital platforms focusing on the Covid-19 pandemic, nutrition and exercise, important initiatives have emerged in the Oncology sector to improve the quality of life of patients. “In view of the stress in treatment management, applications were created to facilitate communication with the medical team and bring more information and well-being to the patient”, says Augusto Takao, oncologist at the AC Camargo Câncer Center and consultant at the Well-being Center Oncology from Neolife.
The journey of someone with cancer is bumpy and stressful. In the beginning it may include biopsy, laboratory tests, tomography, MRI and other more specific exams. When the diagnostic result is positive, the impact is great and the patient’s life changes completely. There is a routine of medical consultations, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and the use of different medications. “The patient is insecure and is afraid of stigma, of losing hair and, of course, of death. He needs to be welcomed, have space to ask questions, have answers. And that doesn’t happen through whatsapp”, says oncologist Alessandra Menezes Morelle, creator of the Thummi app. “It is important to have an effective communication channel between specialists and patients”, he says.
Created to monitor symptoms, experiences and even suggest specific readings, Thummi was one of six chosen among 142 competitors to participate in an acceleration program in the United States, with Velocity TX in partnership with OBr. Global of Brazil. It also received the FINEP Women Innovators 2021 acceleration award, focused on startups led by women from all areas.
At Thummi (named after the Inca god of medicine, Tumi), the patient reports what he is feeling and the algorithm informs you if it is something more serious. Each adverse effect is evaluated and the patient receives information on how to take care of himself and if it is necessary to look for it. the doctor accompanying the case or the hospital’s emergency department. “Through the app, it is possible to make various records, from physical symptoms to mood and the list of medications. The app follows the trend of Medicine to monitor the patient where it is, in addition to facilitating the work of the clinic or hospital”, says Alessandra.
Another application that stands out in the Oncology area is Wecancer, specializing in patient care outside the treatment center. The idea arose from the challenges faced by its creators César Filho and Lorenzo Cartolano when caring for their mothers in the fight against cancer. With a team consisting of a doctor, nurse, nutritionist, psychologist, developers and other specialists, the two decided to support patients undergoing cancer treatment. They then created the platform based on research released by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) that shows increased survival and quality of life from symptom recording and remote monitoring of patients. “In Brazil, there is a lack of care for cancer patients after consultations, especially in smaller cities. That’s why I welcome these apps that give support, clear up doubts about treatments and seek to improve self-esteem”, says Augusto Takao.