Month: December 2022

Guest Blog Post : CancerLife, a New Cancer Support App that can raise Quality of Life for each member.

By Genna Gibbons – Patient Advocate

Cancerlife was founded by Charlie Coltman who lost his best friend to pancreatic cancer. He founded the company with a mission to improve the lives of cancer patients through the use of innovative technology. Its flagship product is a cancer support app that provides patients with various tools and resources to help them manage their condition and navigate the cancer journey with online social support network. This can be especially beneficial for cancer patients, who may have compromised immune systems and may be at higher risk of infection. Cancerlife can also help patients in rural or underserved areas who may not have access to specialized cancer care, connect with other support resources online.

The CancerLife app also includes a symptom collection and racking feature that allows patients to record and monitor their symptoms over time. This can be helpful for both patients and their healthcare providers, as it can provide valuable insight into the effectiveness of treatment and help identify any potential issues. Since roughly 50% of all symptom and side effect issues go unaddressed, which can degrade QoL, the Cancerlife app is directly addressing this huge problem. But most importantly, Cancerlife is a social network like Facebook which creates a powerful engagement experience for each user.

CancerlIfe has been conducting extensive research on how its platform measurably improves QoL. Recently it announce the results of its two-arm randomized control trial in which was conducted nationwide and enrolled 499 participants with breast cancer, aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of CancerLife’s platform in improving patient outcomes and experiences.

The trial enrolled participants via Facebook ads and randomly assigned them to either the intervention group or the control group. The intervention group received access to CancerLife’s platform, which includes a social support platform and novel symptom data collection tracking, and treatment planning tools. The control group received standard care. The results of the trial were highly encouraging. A significant main improvement effect of intervention favoring CancerLife™ was found for both the EQ-VAS (F(1, 5) = 22.1, p < 0.01) of 14.2% and 9.9% on the EQ5-D (F(1, 5) = 14.3, p < 0.01). 

In addition to these individual benefits, the CancerLife app can also support the delivery of cancer care at a population level. Since Cancerlife does not need to be implemented inside a cancer center, it has the potential to scale into any care setting, including community oncologists, which represent 70% of the market. In their clinical trial results, patients were recruited from over 117 area codes which means the outcomes were achieved regardless of care location. CancerLife therefore can address disparities of care, so long as those patients have cell phone or internet access.

Despite the potential benefits of the CancerLife app, there are also challenges associated with its use. One concern is the issue of privacy and security, as patients may be reluctant to share sensitive personal and medical information online. There is also the potential for a digital divide, as not all patients may have access to the necessary technology or may not be comfortable using it.

To address these challenges, it is important that the CancerLife app is developed and implemented in a way that is sensitive to the needs and preferences of cancer patients. This may involve providing training and support to help patients feel comfortable using the app, as well as ensuring that appropriate security measures are in place to protect patient data.

Overall, the CancerLife app has the potential to greatly improve the way we support cancer patients, from improving access to care to empowering patients to better manage their condition. While there are challenges to be addressed, the benefits of this tool are clear and it is important that we continue to explore and invest in its development and use. In conclusion, the CancerLife app can greatly improve the lives of cancer patients and make the healthcare system more efficient. If Cancerlife can get the partnerships necessary to grow its users and scale into health systems, the platform could be a game changer to cancer care delivery. Cant wait to see what happens next!

SAN ANTONIO BC SYMPOSIUM PRESENTATION: Improving Cancer-related Symptom Burden and Quality of Life with CancerLife™, a Digital Self-Care Therapeutic for Cancer Patients

Charles L. Coltman IV, Ignatius Beard, and Scott A. Irwin, MD


Collecting patient-reported outcomes have been shown to improve outcomes in patients with cancer; however, implementing methods to collect and utilize these data, such as remote patient monitoring, has been limited due to staffing resources, workflow disruption, EMR integration, and cost barriers.  A self-care patient engagement consumer app is one solution to help alleviate these barriers. The purpose of this study was to demonstrate that the self-reporting of symptoms by patients using a novel patient engagement mobile application, at any time, from anywhere, would have a meaningful impact on symptom burden while improving Quality of Life (QoL) without the aforementioned barriers, most importantly workflow disruption.


A blinded, two-arm, randomized, controlled trial of CancerLife™ was conducted.   Participants with breast cancer were recruited nationwide via Facebook ads and asked to complete an online qualification survey. If qualified, they received a text message with a link to complete the consent and enrollment process, then randomly assigned via 1:3 ratio to control or the CancerLife™ intervention.  Overall health state (EQ-5D) and QoL (EQ-VAS) were compared with usual care every three weeks from 9 weeks to 24 weeks post-baseline. Virtual monitoring of common cancer-related symptoms (symptom count) was also done for the CancerLife™ group, with participants asked to share their app-generated printed reports w their care team at their consultation appointment.


A total of 1006 participants were recruited online, and 499 completed the registration, consenting process, and download app procedure and were enrolled. A total of 189 participants in both groups completed the 24-week study. Participants that enrolled represented a wide national geographic area inclusive of 117 different area codes, which suggests the solution can address the challenges of care disparities.

A significant main improvement effect of intervention favoring CancerLife™ was found for both the EQ-VAS (F(1, 5) = 22.1, p < 0.01) of 14.2% and 9.9% on the EQ5-D (F(1, 5) = 14.3, p < 0.01).  Post-hoc paired t-test comparisons indicated significantly higher mean differences at 18 and 21 weeks (p < 0.05) on the EQ-VAS and at 21 weeks (p < 0.05) on the EQ5-D, with similar trends at 9, 15, and 24 weeks on the EQ-VAS and 15, 18, and 24 weeks on the EQ5-D.  Further, the CancerLife™ group demonstrated a significant decrease in symptom count (mean Δ=-9.11, -78.1%, t=-2.62, p<0.001) at 24 weeks.


This study demonstrates that a patient engagement app with a novel data collection platform could lower symptom burden and improve overall QoL with minimal barriers to implementation.  Since remote patient monitoring systems are hard to implement inside cancer care settings due to costs, IT system integration, and workflow disruption, a direct-to-consumer-based app, which can be used in any care setting by any patient, and accessed through any connected device, shows significant promise to ameliorate symptom burden, raise overall QoL, and address disparities of access to care and care outcomes for cancer patients. Providers may consider this as a tool to improve their population quality metrics, care and care utilization outcomes, disparities, and patient satisfaction scores without significant startup, maintenance, resource, and workflow costs.

This graph shows the Eq-5D3L Scores on the VAS or Self Reported QoL Scale
This graph shows EQ-5D-3L Index Scores