Cancer Related Fatigue (CRF)
Fatigue is the most common and debilitating side effect of cancer and its treatments. It often impacts daily living with devastating effects on an individual’s physical, social, psychological, and cognitive functioning. Today, 367,000 new cancer cases are diagnosed each year in the UK and it is presumed half of UK residents will suffer with cancer in their lifetime according to Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support. 80% of all individuals with cancer are severely fatigued during treatment in the first year after the diagnosis. Over 30% suffer from it for much longer, sometimes more than ten years. CRF continues to be under reported by patients and under recognised and/or under treated by oncology professionals. Significantly, there is currently no medicine available to combat CRF and non-medical treatments such as onco-rehabilitation and psychological treatments are estimated to only reach 2% of those who require it.
Untire is Designed to Help all Cancer Patients and Survivors
The Untire app can reach those in need in an accessible way. Developed by psychologists, researchers and patients, the Untire self-management program aims to reduce fatigue and increase quality of life by mentally and physically engaging users, thus breaking the vicious circle of fatigue.
“Untire is based on a combination of proven psychological methods including Cognitive Behaviour 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 behaviours, 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.”
The Untire program is suitable for all cancer patients regardless of gender, age, type of cancer, treatment phase and prognosis. More and more doctors, nurses and cancer patient associations are recommending Untire. The app is available in Dutch, English and German and is currently used by over 27,000 people.
The Impact of the Untire App
Fatigue severity, fatigue interference, and overall quality of life significantly improved in cancer patients and survivors over 12 weeks. The quantity of reduction in fatigue severity and interference was significantly 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.”
The article is published by Psycho Oncology.