Smartphone App Encourages Breast Cancer Survivors to Meet Physical Activity Goals

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The smartphone app examined tracks a patient's daily activity and nutrition.
The smartphone app examined tracks a patient's daily activity and nutrition.

As few as 34% of breast cancer survivors achieve the recommended level of physical activity posttreatment. However, a new smartphone app, MOCHA, created by the Methodist Hospital for Cancer Health encourages physical activity among breast cancer survivors by increasing accountability and motivation to exercise in a user-friendly approach.

An evaluation of the app to improve patient accountability and goal achievement was recently published in JCO Clinical Cancer Informatics. The app includes a daily account of activity and nutrition, along with direct interaction with clinical dietitians.

The study included 33 breast cancer survivors, with stage I to II breast cancer who were at least 6 months postactive treatment with an average body mass index of 31.6 kg/m2. A total of 25 women completed the study.

Over a 4-week study period, the average number of daily uses was approximately 3.5, with a range of 0 to 12 times a day, and an overall average weight loss of 2 lb. Participants gave the app a usability score of 77.4, which was higher than the predetermined acceptable level. More than 90% of patients thought the app was easy to navigate, and 84% reported feeling motivated to use MOCHA daily.

“This study emphasizes the importance of technology use to improve goal adherence for patients by providing real-time feedback and accountability with the healthcare team,” wrote the authors. One additional benefit of the app is active engagement with healthcare teams. Future plans include a long-term study to determine the effect of MOCHA on modifying patient behavior.


Stubbins R, He T, Yu X, et al. A behavior-modification, clinical-grade mobile application to improve breast cancer survivors' accountability and health outcomes [published online November 30, 2018]. JCO Clin Cancer Inform. doi: 10.1200/CCI.18.00054
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