MD Anderson Cancer Center turns to Apple Watch for breast cancer treatment

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited May 2015
The MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper is using the Apple Watch to improve the treament regimens of breast cancer patients, citing the advantages of wearables in getting people to change their behavior.




In a pilot project, the New Jersey-based center is partnering with Polaris Health Directions to fit about 30 patients with 38mm Sport models, each with a pink strap, mHealth News reported this week. Polaris will underwrite the Watches, and is developing a HealthKit-compatible app to go with it. The company's senior VP of Labs and Innovation, Mark Redlus, said that future projects could make use of ResearchKit.

The app will connect to Polaris' Polestar behavioral health outcomes management platform, and give both patients and healthcare providers a way of monitoring things like activity, moods, and sleep. Patients will reportedly be taught about their own behaviors, and might receive alerts if for instance they're not getting enough exercise.

The project will cover people during two stages of cancer: the first immediately after they've been diagnosed, the second after treatment is finished. In both cases, the concern is how patients cope with anxiety and depression.

Efforts will be subject to review and approval by the Cooper Institutional Review Board, while MD Anderson Cooper will pick the patients and run treatment.

Although the device's sensors only track motion and heartrate, a handful of medical programs involving the Apple Watch have been announced since the product's launch last month. Earlier in May for example, Louisiana's Ochsner Health System began a trial using the Watch to treat hypertension.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    That's interesting. I find the activity notifications & tracking useful. It will be interesting to see what the results are of this study.
  • Reply 2 of 19
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 4,034member

    This is why Apple watch will kill other smart (quite dumb too) watches on the market.

  • Reply 3 of 19
    robmrobm Posts: 1,068member
    The big medical sensor missing on the Apple watch is blood pressure.
    If they can incorporate a reliable bp sensor the watch will rule.
    I'm not sure about the science in that area but I have had exposure to the vagaries of cuffs used in traditional methods.

    I'm very sure Apple know this already and are working on it.
  • Reply 4 of 19
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member

    The prevailing evidence is that a patient's mood and mental outlook, in terms of negative or positive thinking has no affect on patient outcomes or the course of this horrible disease.  The idea that a wearable device for the usage outlined in this article is being 'used for cancer treatment'  is nausea inducing.

  • Reply 5 of 19

    Nice try but analysts are already killing any hope for decent AppleWatch sales as they say the device is rather useless and demand has gone down the tubes.  Wall Street intends to chew Tim Cook up and spit him out like pig fodder because he's not able to replicate what Steve Jobs had done in terms of creating a "must have" product.  You watch how the cries of "fire Tim Cook" come back when only 15 million AppleWatches are sold this year.  It's really sad to have to follow in Steve Jobs footsteps.

  • Reply 6 of 19
    alcstarheelalcstarheel Posts: 554member
    cnocbui wrote: »
    The prevailing evidence is that a patient's mood and mental outlook, in terms of negative or positive thinking has no affect on patient outcomes or the course of this horrible disease.  The idea that a wearable device for the usage outlined in this article is being 'used for cancer treatment'  is nausea inducing.

    Used for cancer behavioral support not cancer treatment. They aren't trying to reroute the actual disease. They're trying to engage the patient to reroute the effects of the disease.
  • Reply 7 of 19
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,746member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by RobM View Post



    The big medical sensor missing on the Apple watch is blood pressure.

    If they can incorporate a reliable bp sensor the watch will rule.

    I'm not sure about the science in that area but I have had exposure to the vagaries of cuffs used in traditional methods.



    I'm very sure Apple know this already and are working on it.

     

    BP sensor would require FDA approval and would be years away from the day they decided to submit it for approval.

  • Reply 8 of 19
    relicrelic Posts: 4,735member
    As a breast cancer patient myself I can tell you right now that the last thing you want is anything on you. Watchers, jewelery, even earings bugged the ever living hell out of me. Also having too charge the watch everyday while going through chemo, yeah that's just not going to happen. The most benign activities become a nuisance and frankly overwhelming, yes even plugging in a watch every single day. This project or whatever it is, will fail if the patient has any interaction with the watch. Now the caregiver or nurse, absolutely, track away.
  • Reply 9 of 19
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Relic View Post



    As a breast cancer patient myself I can tell you right now that the last thing you want is anything on you. Watchers, jewelery, even earings bugged the ever living hell out of me. Also having too charge the watch everyday while going through chemo, yeah that's just not going to happen. The most benign activities become a nuisance and frankly overwhelming, yes even plugging in a watch every single day. This project or whatever it is, will fail if the patient has any interaction with the watch. Now the caregiver or nurse, absolutely, track away.



    For some patients, for others? Notsomuch. It's not like patients are clones or anything. And outside the hospital information can be very useful in patient care.

  • Reply 10 of 19
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Steffen Jobbs View Post

     

    Nice try but analysts are already killing any hope for decent AppleWatch sales as they say the device is rather useless and demand has gone down the tubes.  Wall Street intends to chew Tim Cook up and spit him out like pig fodder because he's not able to replicate what Steve Jobs had done in terms of creating a "must have" product.  You watch how the cries of "fire Tim Cook" come back when only 15 million AppleWatches are sold this year.  It's really sad to have to follow in Steve Jobs footsteps.




    How much has Apple grown since Jobs went for the dirtnap?

     

    Yeah, tough row to hoe...

     

    And some whiners call for Cook's head EVERY year.

  • Reply 11 of 19
    relicrelic Posts: 4,735member
    jfc1138 wrote: »

    For some patients, for others? Notsomuch. It's not like patients are clones or anything. And outside the hospital information can be very useful in patient care.

    No but I have been around enough of them to have a fairly strong understanding on the mind set of a cancer patient. Maybe the hardware geek but the average person going through cancer treatment doesn't want to be bothered with such devices. Now I did use a tablet to track my medications, alarms and doctors appointment's but I just couldn't imagine trying to use such a small device. You also still need the tablet, that's the thing, the Apple Watch isn't a self contained unit, so now your asking me to figit around with two devices, yeah, no thank you. Nothing against the Apple Watch, I just don't see it being very popular with cancer patient's. Give it to a person in pain and I guarantee that watch will be in pieces on the floor by weeks end, most likely because the alarm for taking meds didn't go off do to the battery being be dead. I charged Mr. Sicky Helper, an Amazon Kindle HDX, literally once a week when I couldn't plug it in, though it was used for nothing else but for tracking my meds, I rarely ever went passed the lockscreen as it displayed the notifications I needed. I even setup IF, an automation app, I had it read out the notifications to me so I didn't even have to touch the tablet, 5:30, time to take ..........
  • Reply 12 of 19
    robmrobm Posts: 1,068member
    mike1 wrote: »
    BP sensor would require FDA approval and would be years away from the day they decided to submit it for approval.

    Thanks. I've since done a little reading around - there has been quite a lot of work in this area.
    Nothing "off the shelf" that Apple could buy or licence that's ready to go that I've been able to find yet.
    So, yes - years away by the look of it.
  • Reply 13 of 19
    gtbuzzgtbuzz Posts: 129member
    A BP Sensor and O2 Sensor should not require FDA approval. They are just approximate sensors, not Hospital Grade quality. I would gladly purchase an Apple Watch that had only Approximate Sensors. Their quality would probably exceed that of those in a hospital environment.
  • Reply 14 of 19
    robmrobm Posts: 1,068member
    ahh - yes GT. Very true, a reliable indicator is what's required.
    Heck ye olde plastic cuff and electric pump is nothing more than that anyway.
    SOP in my med centre is they take 3 readings with those and more often than not they then use the middle values returned. shrug
  • Reply 15 of 19
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    relic wrote: »
    No but I have been around enough of them to have a fairly strong understanding on the mind set of a cancer patient. Maybe the hardware geek but the average person going through cancer treatment doesn't want to be bothered with such devices. Now I did use a tablet to track my medications, alarms and doctors appointment's but I just couldn't imagine trying to use such a small device. You also still need the tablet, that's the thing, the Apple Watch isn't a self contained unit, so now your asking me to figit around with two devices, yeah, no thank you. Nothing against the Apple Watch, I just don't see it being very popular with cancer patient's. Give it to a person in pain and I guarantee that watch will be in pieces on the floor by weeks end, most likely because the alarm for taking meds didn't go off do to the battery being be dead. I charged Mr. Sicky Helper, an Amazon Kindle HDX, literally once a week when I couldn't plug it in, though it was used for nothing else but for tracking my meds, I rarely ever went passed the lockscreen as it displayed the notifications I needed. I even setup IF, an automation app, I had it read out the notifications to me so I didn't even have to touch the tablet, 5:30, time to take ..........
    Given there's thousands of variations in that disease and millions upon millions of individual patients ranging from the very young through to the very old with all the ages, economic and educational levels in between "a cancer patient" Does. Not. Exist. And it's very erroneous to base presumptions on the nonexistent.

    Treat the individual, not the disease. Part of the reason for the desire for the health tracking, to get a handle on more of the individual's reality. That generates more personalized care and treatment, and a better outcome experience shows.
  • Reply 16 of 19
    bestkeptsecretbestkeptsecret Posts: 4,049member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by alcstarheel View Post





    Used for cancer behavioral support not cancer treatment. They aren't trying to reroute the actual disease. They're trying to engage the patient to reroute the effects of the disease.

     

    You make an extremely valid point. Unfortunately you responded to a troll.

  • Reply 17 of 19
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,171member
    cnocbui wrote: »
    The prevailing evidence is that a patient's mood and mental outlook, in terms of negative or positive thinking has no affect on patient outcomes or the course of this horrible disease.  The idea that a wearable device for the usage outlined in this article is being 'used for cancer treatment'  is nausea inducing.

    Used for cancer behavioral support not cancer treatment. They aren't trying to reroute the actual disease. They're trying to engage the patient to reroute the effects of the disease.

    As someone who did his post-treatment (3 month out) PET scan for cancer yesterday and got a....;
    CANCER-FREE RESULT!! :D
    I think I'm qualified to comment.

    In my case both of my oncologists will readily admit that my upbeat positive attitude led to a better outcome than most of my other "classmates". What did I do different? I ignored all mention of unpleasant or even debilitating side effects from radiation and chemotherapy. I was informed that radiation would cause bleeding and blisters in my throat so severe that would make it very unlikely I'd be able to continue eating after the third week or so. Only a couple of us avoiding feeding tubes with most of the others saying simply swallowing water felt like broken glass doing down. I had made up my mind in the beginning that I wouldn't need one despite their recommendation that I have it done sooner rather than later. Guess what? Yeah it was sore but not sore enough to keep me from taking in enough nourishment to avoid a severe weight loss and a potential interruption in treatment. No feeding tube.

    I was told I'd need to take some time off from work after chemo sessions to rest and recover and get over the expected and normal nausea. They even offered me a free room at the American Cancer Society lodge next to the hospital. Said that later on in the treatments I'd probably need it rather than driving 50 miles to the clinic each day. Screw that. Never missed a day of work, nor was I ever nauseous or so tired I couldn't drive to work and treatments.

    In the final two weeks of the program one of my doctors told me I was doing better than any of his other patients at that stage (he liked bell-curve comparisons :)) and IF I could stay as positive during the final dozen radiations and couple of chemo's that my recovery time could be cut in half or more.... and that's exactly what I did. He was right too. I'm at least 3 months ahead of the typical recovery time. I have a friend of mine that 7 months out still hasn't recovered from the exact same cancer treatment. His first solid meal was only a month ago.

    I'm walking 5-7 miles every weekend. Eating anything I want and actually tasting it. Even eating spicy foods like hot-wings that I was told no way I'd be eating anytime soon if ever again. Still not missing a single day of work or lacking the energy to carry around 50lb plus materials. Spending more time fishing in the past few weeks than I have in years. Back to one of my favorite hobbies, photography (particularly macro). Best of all I'm kinder to everyone.

    Yes attitude makes one heck of a difference in treatment IMHO. Because I never let any treatments get me down I never missed or delayed a session, 5 days a week for 7 weeks, 35 radiations and three mega-doses of chemo. Many of the others had to put off some sessions due to pain or weakness and dragging it out longer than they had hoped.

    I've already recovered for the most part while most of my classmates are still suffering after-effects or worse some leftover cancer hot-spots. As I said earlier my doctors give much of the credit to a never-quit attitude that kept me on-track throughout the program. All I had to do is ignore whatever side-effects I was told to expect and do everything they suggested when they suggested it. Hell if they told me to lay down and lick the floor for beneficial microbes I'd have done so. After the fact I was told the side-effects were there. They could see the throat and mouth blisters, the near swollen closed throat on one visit, and the peeling skin. My attitude just helped me tolerate those things better than other patients, bucking the typical reactions.

    Would knowing the daily ups and downs by reminders from a smart-device benefited me? Absolutely not. I would have done much worse if I had a monitor reminding me daily what the effects on my body were. What good is being told you're sick, 40% or less chance of survival and this and that is going to happen to you over the next few weeks? In my case NO good would have come from it and I refuse to believe that others can't do the same thing. There's nothing special about me that would prevent anyone else from experiencing some of the same positives and improvements in the outcome. Maybe you won't be cured but if you have to walk the walk anyway you might as well enjoy some of the scenery instead of seeing only black in front of you.

    Hearing "no sign of cancer and only a 5% chance of recurrence" yesterday was one of the biggest highlights of my life. In an odd way I'm actually glad I had cancer. I'm a better person for it and life has a different look.
  • Reply 18 of 19
    singularitysingularity Posts: 1,328member
    gatorguy wrote: »

    As someone who did his post-treatment (3 month out) PET scan for cancer yesterday and got a....;
    CANCER-FREE RESULT!! :D
    I think I'm qualified to comment.

    In my case both of my oncologists will readily admit that my upbeat positive attitude led to a better outcome than most of my other "classmates". What did I do different? I ignored all mention of unpleasant or even debilitating side effects from radiation and chemotherapy. I was informed that radiation would cause bleeding and blisters in my throat so severe that would make it very unlikely I'd be able to continue eating after the third week or so. Only a couple of us avoiding feeding tubes with most of the others saying simply swallowing water felt like broken glass doing down. I had made up my mind in the beginning that I wouldn't need one despite their recommendation that I have it done sooner rather than later. Guess what? Yeah it was sore but not sore enough to keep me from taking in enough nourishment to avoid a severe weight loss and a potential interruption in treatment. No feeding tube.

    I was told I'd need to take some time off from work after chemo sessions to rest and recover and get over the expected and normal nausea. They even offered me a free room at the American Cancer Society lodge next to the hospital. Said that later on in the treatments I'd probably need it rather than driving 50 miles to the clinic each day. Screw that. Never missed a day of work, nor was I ever nauseous or so tired I couldn't drive to work and treatments.

    In the final two weeks of the program one of my doctors told me I was doing better than any of his other patients at that stage (he liked bell-curve comparisons :)) and IF I could stay as positive during the final dozen radiations and couple of chemo's that my recovery time could be cut in half or more.... and that's exactly what I did. He was right too. I'm at least 3 months ahead of the typical recovery time. I have a friend of mine that 7 months out still hasn't recovered from the exact same cancer treatment. His first solid meal was only a month ago.

    I'm walking 5-7 miles every weekend. Eating anything I want and actually tasting it. Even eating spicy foods like hot-wings that I was told no way I'd be eating anytime soon if ever again. Still not missing a single day of work or lacking the energy to carry around 50lb plus materials. Spending more time fishing in the past few weeks than I have in years. Back to one of my favorite hobbies, photography (particularly macro). Best of all I'm kinder to everyone.

    Yes attitude makes one heck of a difference in treatment IMHO. Because I never let any treatments get me down I never missed or delayed a session, 5 days a week for 7 weeks, 35 radiations and three mega-doses of chemo. Many of the others had to put off some sessions due to pain or weakness and dragging it out longer than they had hoped.

    I've already recovered for the most part while most of my classmates are still suffering after-effects or worse some leftover cancer hot-spots. As I said earlier my doctors give much of the credit to a never-quit attitude that kept me on-track throughout the program. All I had to do is ignore whatever side-effects I was told to expect and do everything they suggested when they suggested it. Hell if they told me to lay down and lick the floor for beneficial microbes I'd have done so. After the fact I was told the side-effects were there. They could see the throat and mouth blisters, the near swollen closed throat on one visit, and the peeling skin. My attitude just helped me tolerate those things better than other patients, bucking the typical reactions.

    Would knowing the daily ups and downs by reminders from a smart-device benefited me? Absolutely not. I would have done much worse if I had a monitor reminding me daily what the effects on my body were. What good is being told you're sick, 40% or less chance of survival and this and that is going to happen to you over the next few weeks? In my case NO good would have come from it and I refuse to believe that others can't do the same thing. There's nothing special about me that would prevent anyone else from experiencing some of the same positives and improvements in the outcome. Maybe you won't be cured but if you have to walk the walk anyway you might as well enjoy some of the scenery instead of seeing only black in front of you.

    Hearing "no sign of cancer and only a 5% chance of recurrence" yesterday was one of the biggest highlights of my life. In an odd way I'm actually glad I had cancer. I'm a better person for it and life has a different look.
    Great to hear
  • Reply 19 of 19
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post







    As someone who did his post-treatment (3 month out) PET scan for cancer yesterday and got a....;

    CANCER-FREE RESULT!! image

    I think I'm qualified to comment.

     

    I am very happy to hear that you have had such great news and a positive outcome.  May it continue.

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