This October, technology has put Kiwi women’s breast health in their own hands – literally.
Pre Check, an innovative app from Breast Cancer Foundation NZ – launched to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month – takes women into a whole new world of breast health awareness.
A sensory mobile interface leverages the power of touch, sight, audio and 3D motion to help women gain a better understanding of the nine symptoms of breast cancer. Each symptom has been recreated using different types of haptic feedback technology to generate a tactile experience.
The educational tool allows users to feel around the screen in search of breast cancer signs. They’re then prompted to “get to know your own normal”. Through an easy-to-follow visual guide, women are taught how to do a self-check. Personalised monthly reminders ensure these self-checks become routine.
“Pre Check is a significant new wellbeing tool for women in New Zealand,” says Breast Cancer Foundation NZ’s chief executive, Evangelia Henderson. “It’s an innovation that empowers women and gives them confidence to take control of their own breast health.”
The information has been available before but this is a new way of putting it in people’s hands, Mrs Henderson says.
“We encourage everyone from the age of 20 to ‘know your normal’. We urge women of breast-screening age to stay vigilant between mammograms, and younger women to be breast aware at all times. The beauty of Pre Check is that it puts vital information, quite literally, at people’s fingertips.
“Because it’s totally portable, you can check whenever and wherever it suits. It’s such a great way to be proactive with your breast health. And because it’s accessible to everyone, it transcends age, cultural background, income and education levels,” she says.
Within the first three weeks, more than 7,000 people had downloaded the app.
“Breast cancer is most treatable when it is found early, so early detection is your best protection. That’s why it’s vital to know the signs and ‘know your normal’ – and if you notice any changes, see your doctor immediately. If Pre Check encourages women to be more alert to breast changes and to see their doctors earlier, we believe it will save lives.”
Sarah Gandy, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in January this year at age 36, says the new app is a safe, credible source of information that will get people away from ‘Doctor Google’. “Having something that gives you the confidence to know you’re self-checking properly, and reminds you to do it regularly, is amazing,” Sarah says.