Incorporating expert cancer information from Macmillan Cancer Support, a new app has been launched to support cancer patients.
The Unify Health resource, developed by Accord Healthcare, comprises the knowledge of experts from across the cancer community to support and advise people on their physical and mental wellbeing whilst undergoing cancer treatment. As well as connecting patients with their local pharmacists, the app also provides access to community pharmacists who have committed to become ‘Community Cancer Champions’.
Experts at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, a world-leading cancer centre and teaching institution, have helped to develop a practical, bite-sized training curriculum for community pharmacists who wish to help champion cancer care in the community. The training provides advice on how to talk to and assist cancer patients, particularly around managing symptoms and worries.
Unify Health aims to be an app that is accessible at all times for cancer patients and their carers, providing a toolkit of tailored advice and information with the ability to locate community pharmacists with training on the management of cancer symptoms and side effects caused by its treatments. These side effects vary from person to person but can include, amongst other things, dry skin following radio or chemotherapy, disrupted sleep, mouth and throat sores, hair loss, nutritional needs, and feelings of nausea.
Dany Bell, Strategic Adviser for Treatment, from Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “The pandemic has had a huge impact on cancer care in the UK. There is a need now, more than ever, to develop measures for effective support for management of symptoms and reducing further any barriers for people to safely access advice.
“It’s all very well searching for information online, but it’s so much more reassuring for someone living with cancer to actually connect with a ‘real person’ – a healthcare professional who has committed to Cancer Care in the Community who can also provide tailored advice, specific to an individual patient’s needs.”
Badri Wadawadigi, Accord Healthcare’s Head of Digital Health, said: “Limited access to hospitals and hands-on care during the pandemic has simply exacerbated the mental health burden on cancer patients during the last 12 months.
“If people can face their cancer armed with tailored but medically validated information, this could help decrease worry and may also result in better healthcare outcomes.”
The app is available to download for free at www.unifyhealth.app