The United States sees about 210,000 new cases of lung cancer per year based on 2012 figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A web and smartphone app, however, offers lung cancer patients a chance for longer survival.

Findings of a clinical trial conducted in France have shown that the Moovcare smartphone and web application can help individuals diagnosed with lung cancer live longer and better by tracking their symptoms and alerting healthcare providers of potential problems.

The app, which alerts patients to complete a symptom chart on a weekly basis, boosts overall survival by seven months compared to when patients receive standard follow-up care alone.

Study researcher Fabrice Denis, from the Institut Inter-regional de Cancérologie Jean Bernard in France, said that the key to the intervention is that the app helps detect relapse early, which would call for for early supportive care of patients.

Relapsing patients tend to wait weeks before they see a doctor so they do not always get the best cancer care possible as they are already too sick to handle the toxic effects of chemotherapy.

For the study, which involved 133 patients who have received first-line chemotherapy and most of whom had stage III or IV lung cancer, participants were asked to use the app once a week to report on 12 clinical symptoms linked to lung cancer relapse or potentially dangerous conditions associated with the disease.

Efficient use of the app appeared beneficial. Of the high-risk lung cancer patients, about 75 percent were alive a year after they began using the app. In comparison, only 49 percent of the patients who received typical cancer care survived.

The patients using the Moovcare app also lived about seven months longer than the non-users. They also required less regular CT scanning. Denis said the use of the app was linked to 50 percent reduction in imaging scans per patient per year.

"This trial shows a significant survival improvement using Web-application-guided follow-up that allowed better PS at relapse, earlier supportive care and reduction of routine imaging," the researchers reported.

Despite the promising results, researchers said the app will only work if doctors restructure practices to ensure patients take heed of incoming Moovcare alerts.

The results of the trial were presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago. The app, which is being developed by Israel-based Moovcare, is still in prototype but it is expected to be available in the market by January next year.

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