BAPS, a mobile app designed by a patient, is helping people with b****t cancer prepare for the start of radiotherapy, BBC reports. This treatment requires them to raise their arm above their head. However, patients often find that difficult or painful after b****t surgery.
The exercises are important. Although, b****t cancer survivor Karen Bonham says the detail on leaflets did not help her enough. So she created the app to offer other patients helpful exercise videos. Medics say it is already helping more women be ready on time.
Staff at Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff say fewer patients need an urgent referral for physiotherapy ahead of the treatment since the BAPS app launched in February 2019.
Ms Bonham said she had been “very anxious” about not being able to access radiotherapy. Because of this, she confided in her physiotherapist. She also said the paper-based exercises were “not the most informative” and then asked what could be done about it.
“I’m just delighted that she listened and spoke to the full b****t care team, including the surgeon, to be able to produce something that is now much more easily accessible and best practice for everybody.”
Kate Baker, the clinical lead physiotherapist at Velindre, who helped devise the app, said:
“Previously, we’ve always handed out information on exercises in a leaflet, that patients would be given by a physiotherapist and taken home. These pieces of paper get lost and they’re not followed through.
“What we wanted to do was provide exercises, physical activity advice and further information in an app format, which would allow individuals to have it with them at all times.”
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Why is the arm position important?
Donna Egbeare, a b****t surgeon at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, took part in developing the bilingual app. She says the impact of being able to start radiotherapy on schedule was significant.
“If you get to the point of radiotherapy and then you can’t have it. Emotionally that’s a massively difficult thing to deal with,” she said.
The app helps people prepare for the position needed for a radiotherapy scan.
Heather Cootes, a radiographer at Velindre, said:
“We’re looking at millimetres of tolerance with our treatment. Everything is planned on that first scan we do, and then the treatment is given based on that plan and that patient position.
“So if a patient is coming to us and they’ve got problems with arm movement, that can cause problems further down the line because, as time goes on, they’ll relax between the planning scan and treatment and that can mean the position has changed slightly.
“So we may need to then re-scan and re-plan the treatment and that can prolong and delay things for the patients.”
How is the BAPS app helping?
“We’ve noticed far fewer patients needing a referral for physio because they’re able to get arms into that position,” said Ms. Cootes. “They’re a lot more prepared and less anxious when they’re coming to us for planning.”
Ms Bonham, from Radyr, is still receiving cancer treatment but is back in work. “It is great to think that my role as a patient has been able to produce something like this,” she said.
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