The world's first ehealth app to support cancer patients and families has been launched.
Compatible with Apple devices, CancerStories is an ehealth innovation that aims to provide hope and inspiration for those newly diagnosed as well as long term cancer survivors.
The project is led by Dr Alex Mitchell from the University of Leicester's Department of Cancer Studies together with volunteers and is hosted by CancerStories Ltd, a not-for-profit organisation.
Dr Mitchell said: "Our aim was to offer something therapeutic for everyone affected by cancer and not rely on a referral to a hospital specialist which is not always available for emotional complications.
"With the help of volunteers and the incredible input of patients and family members who consented to share their story for the benefit of others, we have been able to create this valuable resource.
"Initial evaluation with a panel of 100 patients found CancerStories beneficial in reducing isolation and anxiety, promoting independence and inspiring patients to help others. 8 out of 10 who watched CancerStories said they could cope better with their own cancer."
Cancer affects one in three people and most families will have experience of cancer. CancerStories provides patients and families with personal first-hand accounts of how real patients coped with their cancer.
CancerStories uses a proven peer support model, such as patients' accounts of their own inspirational journeys, but makes this available 24/7. It includes over 500 recorded video interviews with cancer patients and has been evaluated with staff and patients in Leicestershire hospitals.
Julie Charlish, a breast cancer patient and a volunteer with the programme said: "Through my involvement with the CancerStories project I found out just how valuable online video support cancer be, as a direct source of help, with tips on coping with many types of cancer. I found that by helping others it has enabled me to move forward with my life. The experience has strengthened my belief in peer support mechanisms, they really do work!"
CancerStories can be accessed on the app store from any country or directly via http://appsto.re/gb/bYZj4.i
An overview of CancerStories can be found here: http://www.cancerstories.org/Cancerstories_worldwide.pdf
CancerStories is now available for any patient or family member with cancer nationally. People with cancer who want to volunteer to record their story can get in touch with the project team by contacting email@example.com.