Your Breast Cancer Treatment Companion
1 in 8 U.S. women will develop breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.
93% of those in treatment experienced at least one of the following side effects: nausea, diarrhea, constipation, pain, swelling, dyspnea, or skin irritation. 45% of the women said they had at least one severe or very severe side effect.
MelonMate is a breast cancer treatment companion that supports women’s journey from initial treatment to long-term recovery. MelonMate is specially designed for breast cancer patients and survivors with visually appealing and easy-to-use functions. The app includes a unique combination of features that are not supported by any current application on the market.
MelonMate allows breast cancer patients to:
- Monitor and track mood and side effects
- Enter medications and dosages
- Set medication reminders
- Store important contact information
- Share symptom tracking information with family or medical providers
Purpose & Motivation
"More women are suffering than is generally reported in clinical trials. Often, women suffer in silence, afraid to tell their providers about how bad things really are for fear that their treatments may be halted," said Allison Kurian, M.D., M.Sc., Associate Professor of Medicine at Stanford University. Almost all breast cancer treatments cause adverse side effects, which means millions of patients suffering. Helping breast cancer patients track their side effects and giving them the option to share this information bridges the communication gap with their physicians. Additionally, enabling early intervention can help significantly improve outcomes for women. When physicians responded with early intervention when notified of patients’ severe or worsening symptoms, patients’ health-related quality of life improved and were admitted to the ER or hospitalized less frequently (Journal of Clinical Oncology). With important symptoms and contact information at their fingertips, users can easily share critical details with their doctors. This facilitates better symptom management and promotes timely intervention when necessary.
How this application works
MelonMate is a mobile application that gives Breast Cancer patients a platform to enter and store information on medication and side effects. An easy, on-the-go platform, MelonMate allows users to track side effects and monitor trends at the click of a few buttons. Users can add notification alarms to help remind them to take their medication. Patients can also choose to share their symptoms and trends with their physicians.
How this application was developed
- Interviews were conducted with numerous patients who were diagnosed with varying stages of breast cancer. The extensiveness of their treatments and severity of side effects varied.
- Additional research yielded studies published by the American Cancer Society Journals, Journal of Clinical Oncology, and Nature Review Clinical Oncology that demonstrated the immense importance and need of side effects and symptom monitoring for those receiving breast cancer treatment.
- Market analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of competitors, including chemoWave, My Breast Cancer Coach, Cancer.net, demonstrated an immediate need for a solution like MelonMate. ChemoWave’s allowed users to track conditions but shared data was difficult to read. My Breast Cancer Coach allowed users to upload and save a pathology report for a more accurate and informative user experience but lacked medication and symptom trackers. Cancer.net tracked general symptoms but had no option of viewing symptoms on a single graph.
- Tools used in the research and development of the prototype included:
- Zoom for collaborating twice a week
- Google Docs and Google Sheets for documenting research, requirements, and storing of project documentation
- Figma for generating the high fidelity prototype
- Adobe Illustrator for logo development
How to use this application
MelonMate is a one-stop solution breast cancer application that allows users to input information for storage, tracking, and sharing.
Tracking Symptoms/Side Effects
Users enter the symptoms page from the navigation menu where they can enter the symptoms and side effects that they are experiencing. If the user has already entered in the medication they are taking, MelonMate will auto suggest some symptoms that are associated with the medication for them to add to the tracker. Users can also search for a symptom that they are experiencing and then add it to the tracker. Users then can go to the tracking page and use a slider to indicate how severe their symptom is from (none to very severe). Users are also able to enter in their temperature.
Users can also view their symptom tracker by day or by month. In the monthly view, users can choose between a calendar view or a chart view. These two options allow users to see a visual summary of their symptoms and begin spotting trends. Users can also filter by symptom so they can look for trends in specific side effects.
Users can enter the medications page from the navigation bar at the bottom of the app. Within the medications screen, users can enter the names and dosages of the medications they are taking. Users can set a day and a time for MelonMate to send the user notification reminders to take their medications. This feature helps relieve some cognitive load for users and does the remembering for them.
Storing Medical Clinician Information
In the Doctor page, users are able to store their clinician’s name, address, email, and phone number. Fields are also available to store hospital and pharmacy information. Additional contacts can be added by selecting “Add Contact”.
Sharing Tracking Information with their Clinicians
In the Symptoms page, users can share their daily symptoms with their clinicians by hitting the share button.
Difficulties & Challenges you faced
Some of the biggest challenges were finding the right balance of features between an all-encompassing application and a specialized niche application. With more time and resources, we would have liked to have included a community function. This would have allowed women to not just have the help logistically with keeping track of their symptoms and medications, as the app does now, but also assist women in the emotional side of the healing journey. This community page would have a forum-like interface, so that women could share their stories, where they are currently in their journey, or find a friend nearby to chat and meet with.
While the main audience for MelonMate is breast cancer patients, the app has the opportunity to dramatically affect the healthcare, pharmaceutical, and caretaker industries. Patient-level data can provide real-world medical information, with opportunities for improved clinical decision-making, patient empowerment, improved health outcomes, and cost reductions. The more data collected the more valuable this app delivers, which is a win-win situation for patients, healthcare providers, and pharmaceutical companies. MelonMate will help advance McKesson’s vision "to improve care in every setting — one product, one partner, one patient at a time."
We hope to finish coding the entire project for use on Android and iPhone devices. Distributing the application on both platforms allows MelonMate to reach a wider audience and increases scalability by understanding the market through Market Finder and testing the efficacy of the app in TestFlight. The pricing strategy of MelonMate would include multiple tiers depending on the level of service preferred by the customer. Currently, it is industry standard to offer a free trial of the premium version with more unique features. Additionally, a number of organizations provide links on their websites to various services and support groups that are available to breast cancer patients, including komen.org and breastcare.org. Partnering with these organizations will inform patients about MelonMate.