A biopsy of Breast Cancer mobile applications: state of the practice review

G. Giunti, D. H. Giunta, E. Guisado-Fernandez, J. L. Bender, Luis Fernandez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Citations (Scopus)


Background Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. The use of mobile software applications for health and wellbeing promotion has grown exponentially in recent years. We systematically reviewed the breast cancer apps available in today's leading smartphone application stores and characterized them based on their features, evidence base and target audiences. Methods A cross-sectional study was performed to characterize breast cancer apps from the two major smartphone app stores (iOS and Android). Apps that matched the keywords “breast cancer” were identified and data was extracted using a structured form. Reviewers independently evaluated the eligibility and independently classified the apps. Results A total of 1473 apps were a match. After removing duplicates and applying the selection criteria only 599 apps remained. Inter-rater reliability was determined using Fleiss-Cohen's Kappa. The majority of apps were free 471 (78.63%). The most common type of application was Disease and Treatment information apps (29.22%), Disease Management (19.03%) and Awareness Raising apps (15.03%). Close to 1 out of 10 apps dealt with alternative or homeopathic medicine. The majority of the apps were intended for patients (75.79%). Only one quarter of all apps (24.54%) had a disclaimer about usage and less than one fifth (19.70%) mentioned references or source material. Gamification specialists determined that 19.36% contained gamification elements. Conclusions This study analyzed a large number of breast cancer-focused apps available to consumers. There has been a steady increase of breast cancer apps over the years. The breast cancer app ecosystem largely consists of start-ups and entrepreneurs. Evidence base seems to be lacking in these apps and it would seem essential that expert medical personnel be involved in the creation of medical apps

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Medical Informatics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018



  • Breast cancer
  • Cancer
  • Connected health
  • eHealth
  • Gamification
  • mHealth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics

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