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Cancer center using Apple Watches to help breast cancer patients

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An Apple Watch will capture behavioral data for breast cancer patients.
An Apple Watch will capture behavioral data for breast cancer patients. - ()

MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper University Health Care has begun a study to combine wearable technology with a behavioral health outcomes platform to support treatment of 30 breast cancer patients.

The nine-month pilot project uses Apple Watches to capture behavioral data and uses Polaris’ Polestar platform to capture and analyze the data.

Patients participating received a free, customized Apple Watch and hands-on training at an event Tuesday. They were trained on how to record their experiences and discover more about their own mindset, according to Cooper.

The technology also allows patients to connected to other patients through the emPOWER app, as well as reach out to their care team and access clinical and social support.

“Technology has the rare ability to transform human connectedness, understanding and quality of life,” said Mark Anthony, CEO of Polaris. “We believe technology, brought together with our behavioral health expertise, has the power to touch and transform lives — in this case, the lives of 30 women who are currently undergoing breast cancer treatment.”

Cori McMahon, director of behavioral medicine at MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper, said adjustments to lifestyle changes and uncertainty are among the most significant challenges facing cancer patients.

 “I think a huge piece of addressing the uncertainty felt by cancer patients is advancing their health literacy. When patients are able to monitor their own behaviors, they are able to better understand the correlations between those behaviors and how they are feeling, and even change those behaviors to improve their quality of life,” McMahon said.

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