Women living with metastatic breast cancer often experience social isolation and feelings of low self-worth, however a new app is hoping to tackle this.
Metastatic breast cancer is an advanced form of breast cancer where the cancer has spread from the breast to other organs of the body. Despite advances in the treatment of breast cancer, approximately 30% of women initially diagnosed with earlier stages of breast cancer eventually develop recurrent advanced or metastatic disease.
Early detection does not help survival for metastatic breast cancer patients. The average survival is just two to three years, although many women can live for much longer.
Research has found that women with this form of cancer often find it difficult to access the emotional support they need at this vulnerable time. However, a new app - EmotionSpace - has been developed to track how affected women are feeling. It also allows them to request and receive emotional support from family, friends and others with the disease.
Europa Donna Ireland (The Irish Breast Cancer Campaign), the Irish Cancer Society and the Marie Keating Foundation have partnered with the app to increase awareness of the support that is available to women.
It is hoped that the combination of the immediacy of online emotional support, along with face-to-face initiatives organised by patient groups, will result in affected women always being connected to a support network.
"The Marie Keating Foundation knows that being diagnosed with metastatic cancer can be an emotional time that can lead a person to have many fears and questions, as well as moments of anger and confusion.
"At a time where a person needs the most support, some people with metastatic cancer can find that emotional support very hard to find. We welcome the availability of the EmotionSpace app, which will provide people with metastatic breast cancer with 24-hour access to their emotional support network," commented Liz Yeates, CEO of the Marie Keating Foundation.
According to Tara Byrne of Europa Donna Ireland, emotional support for women living with metastatic breast cancer is ‘critical to their wellbeing as they navigate a disease with limited treatment options and poor health outcomes'.
"Europa Donna Ireland provides support through a secret online Facebook group called ‘Connect' and it has highlighted the desire from women to engage with other people living with the disease and to support each other through the challenges that metastatic breast cancer throws at them.
"The EmotionSpace app reflects this desire to share the ups and downs with a support network and gives practical suggestions to navigate the wide range of emotions associated with the disease," she noted.
Meanwhile, the Irish Cancer Society said that it is proud to have been part of the development of the EmotionSpace app and that it has been ‘designed in consultation with patients to provide a secure space to express feelings and seek support in real time'.
The app can be downloaded here
*Pictured at the launch of the EmotionSpace app are Tara Byrne of Europa Donna Ireland and Liz Yeates of the Marie Keating Foundation