How I did it

Two years in the making, app aims to be “gold standard resource” for cancer patients

Dinushi Dias /

Three Sydney doctors have teamed up to create an app aiming to simplify the lives of people with cancer by providing personalised care information.

CancerAid was developed by Melbourne product development studio Paper Cloud and founded by Sydney’s Dr Nikhil Pooviah of Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, Dr Raghav Murali-Ganesh and Dr Akshat Saxena.

“It’s a digital health solution to assist with deficiencies in cancer care,” Pooviah tells StartupSmart.

The app’s fundamental aim is to provide a comprehensive telecommunication service that helps patients, particularly those in rural areas, with access to care and mental health.

Until now, there hasn’t been a “gold standard resource” to give patients when they are diagnosed with cancer, Pooviah says.

He says CancerAid offers personalised care information to people with cancer, including details of their disease, treatment options and possible side effects.

“It allows patients to go home and digest that information at their own pace,” he says.

Saxena says the app helps patients overcome the “tyranny of distance” and receive face-to-face consultations.

“We’re able to connect patients to their specialist to facilitate prompt diagnosis and treatment,” he says.

Nearly two years in the making, the founding team have worked closely with doctors, clinicians, patients and their families to create a tool that speaks to the specific needs of people with cancer.

“We undertook research at our institution identifying what issues patients want addressed within the app,” Pooviah says.

The app’s features include visual care pathways to help patients know what to expect and empowers them with things like medication and symptom management tools.

It also offers 24/7 on-call medical and psychological support.

When patients are first diagnosed, they can be bombarded with information, much of which doesn’t even register, Pooviah says.

They created the app to help reduce confusion, anxiety and information overload.

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Patient Dominique Morency, who has the rare cancer leiomyosarcoma, says the technology has been very helpful in her journey.

“CancerAid is easy to use and will mean I can just listen to my doctor rather than frantically taking notes during appointments,” she says in a statement.

The app is gaining strong traction in the field with leading cancer doctors, organisations and hospitals offering support.

NSW Cancer Institute will provide personalised content for the app.

With the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse signing on as the first clinic to use the app, Pooviah and the team look forward to running the prototype with at least 1000 patients in upcoming months before its official launch.

“Instead of helping one patient, we now have the opportunity to help millions,” he says.

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Dinushi Dias

Dinushi Dias is a freelance journalist and a former StartupSmart reporter and multimedia content producer. She is the co-founder of Melbourne-based production house Dinushi & Power.

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