Fatigue is the most common side effect of cancer and its treatments. It impacts daily living with devastating effects on an individual’s physical, social, psychological, and cognitive functioning. Today, 1.72 million new cancer cases are diagnosed each year in the U.S. with over 16.9 million individuals living with or beyond cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. 80% of all individuals with cancer are severely fatigued during treatment in the first year after the diagnosis. Over 30% suffer from it years after treatment has ended. CRF continues to be underreported by patients and underrecognized and/or undertreated by oncology care providers.
The study comprised of 799 participants from England, United States, Australia, and Canada who suffered from moderate to severe fatigue. Two-thirds of study participants were given the opportunity to immediately start using the program. The remaining subjects formed a control group that received access to the app 12 weeks later. Fatigue levels and quality of life were measured at baseline 0, 4, 8, and 12 weeks, respectively. Of the 799 individuals who participated in the randomized study, 60 percent had completed all cancer treatments. Nearly 10 percent of participants previously received professional help to combat fatigue.
Fatigue severity, fatigue interference, and quality of life significantly improved in participants over 12 weeks. The quantity of reduction in fatigue severity and interference was signifcantly larger in patients who used the Untire app for three days or more compared to non-users. Further analysis shows that individuals who use the app regularly make the most progress.
Researcher Simon Spahrkäs, PhD states, “Using the app three to nine times already leads to good results. The study shows that in addition to existing face-to-face therapy or therapist-led online interventions, an accessible mHealth solution such as Untire can also be an effective treatment solution.”
Designed to Help all Cancer Patients and Survivors
The Untire self-management program aims to reduce fatigue and increase quality of life by helping users break the vicious circle of fatigue.
“Untire is based on a combination of proven psychological methods including Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) with Physical and Psychological Rehabilitation. The program consists of ongoing energy measurement combined with education, stress-reducing mindfulness activities, and physical exercises with video and audio guides. This helps identify the behaviors, thoughts, and symptoms that affect energy levels,” explains Door Vonk, co-founder of Untire. “As we see from the research, having an easy-to-use program yields improved outcomes.”
Need for Digital Support
Today, access to cancer care and support has been dramatically impacted due to COVID-19.
Bram Kuiper, PhD, co-founder of Untire and clinical psychologist, states, “In this time of the COVID pandemic, it’s important that proven, digital solutions like Untire are made available to support patients wherever they are: in the hospital, doctor’s office or at home.”
The Untire program is suitable for all cancer patients regardless of gender, age, type of cancer, treatment phase and prognosis. It is offered in English, Dutch, and German. Untire is currently used by over 27,000 people worldwide. Complete research results are available at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/pon.5492.
Tired of Cancer B.V.:
Tired of Cancer is a digital therapeutics social enterprise headquartered in Utrecht, Netherlands. It is the first to develop the easy-to-use, digital program Untire, for cancer-related fatigue. Tired of Cancer’s mission is to help as many cancer patients and survivors worldwide regain energy and improve quality of life.
For more information, visit www.untire.me
University of Groningen: The University of Groningen is a Top 100 University with more than 400 years in research excellence. The department of Health Psychology is part of the Faculty of Medicine and studies health and illness in relation to human behavior. For more information about the study, please contact Dr. Simon Spahrkäs, firstname.lastname@example.org