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Cancer apps that put you in control

Cancer apps that put you in control

Take control of your cancer with these apps designed to help you manage, track and share information about different cancers.

Consultant oncologist Professor Karol Sikora selects apps that can help you take charge of your condition.

My Organiser

Price: Free

Available on: Google Play and iTunes

Keep all your cancer treatment information saved in one place on My Organiser from UK cancer charity Macmillan. You can save appointments, contacts and your medication schedule in this easy to use planner, which also offers useful tips and cancer information. Everything you need to remember can be stored safely and conveniently on your mobile device so you can share it with healthcare professionals and carers.

My Pancreas

Price: Free

Available on: iTunes

My Pancreas, a joint project between the NHS and the private sector, is an educational guide for patients facing a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. The app loads information about tests and treatments patients can expect, and links directly to pancreatic cancer advice sites and support. Information and pre-written questions can also be saved to a notes section in advance of consultations.     

Cancer.Net Mobile

Price: Free

Available on: Google Play and iTunes

Patients can plan and manage their care with the information and tools on this app from the American Society of Clinical Oncology. The app includes up-to-date guides on more than 120 types of cancer. You can keep track of questions to ask doctors and record voice answers. The app lets you save information about your treatment, including the time and severity of symptoms and side effects of medication.

OWise breast cancer app

Price: Free

Available on: Google Play and iTunes

Keep all your breast cancer care information in one secure place. The app helps you track your feelings during treatment and generate wellbeing graphs that can be shared with your care team. You can receive a personalised list of questions to help you prepare for appointments. You can also record conversations with your doctor to listen back to in your own time. The app was developed by Px HealthCare, a London-based company specialising in apps for cancer patients.

CancerCare by CureSearch

Price: Free

Available on: Google Play and iTunes

Parents of children with a cancer diagnosis can use CancerCare to help synchronise appointments and treatments between different devices. The app tracks your mood, side effects and blood counts, and can help spot trends. You can share all of this information confidentially with other family caregivers. CancerCare was developed by CureSearch for Children's Cancer, a US non-profit foundation that funds research into cures for childhood cancer.

Tumour Takedown

Price: Free

Available on iTunes and Google Play

An educational game based on research by a team at Queen Mary University of London. Take on the role of a cancer research scientist to build a virtual tumour and work out how to destroy it. This will teach you how tumours are made and how cancer treatments can harness the immune system to fight cancer.

Apps for learning disabilities

Apps for learning disabilities

There is a whole host of apps out there that can help support someone who has a learning disability, from managing their own health to improving their communication and social skills.

The following apps have been recommended by health professionals, charities and parents of children with a range of learning disabilities.

My Health Guide


Price: £12 for an annual subscription.

Available at: My Health Guide (the Android version comes with a 30-day free trial) 

People with learning disabilities often have difficulty managing information about their health and health care. My Health Guide captures information about their health in a single place in a format that best suits them, such as text, photos, video or audio.

The app's uses range from keeping a food diary, to sharing information and how you're feeling with carers and health professionals.

The My Health Guide website has stories from people who are already using the app. 

LetMeTalk: AAC talker

Price: Free

Available on: iTunes and Google Play

LetMeTalk is a free augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) app that provides everyone with a voice, including those who can't speak. The app allows you to line up images in a meaningful way to be read as a sentence.

The app's database has more than 9,000 images and the functionality to add existing images or take new photos with the built-in camera. No internet connection or mobile contract is necessary when using the app, which means it can be used in any setting including hospital, nursing home or schools.


Price: Free with in-app purchases

Available on: iTunes (iPad only)

MyChoicePad is a language and communication app that uses Makaton symbols (a simple type of sign language), signs and signing videos in addition to your own photos and audio.

It can be used by both children and adults with learning disabilities, to help them to communicate in everyday situations.

It can also be used to build plans and lists for upcoming events or capture photos during activities so that they can be discussed later.

Educational apps from Special iApps

Price: There are nine apps ranging in price from free to £9.99.

Available on:  Special iApps (includes links to Google Play and iTunes)

Special iApps develops educational apps for children with special educational needs, including autism, Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy, hearing impairment and other learning disabilities.

Examples include "Special Stories", where you can create stories with photos, text and audio to help with reading, social skills and explaining step-by-step tasks.

Also available is "Special Words", which includes 96 pictures and matching written and spoken words in 24 languages.

Autism iHelp by John Talavera

Price: Paid-for apps up to £1.49. Other apps are free but many have in-app purchases.

Available on: iTunes 

Autism iHelp is a series of apps developed by parents of a child with autism and a speech and language specialist.

One of the free apps introduces the learner to the concept of opposites using photographs. Another, called Play, groups a series of images and words into three categories: toys, outdoor activities and arts and crafts. Once the child is familiar with these items, they can test their knowledge through the fourth category: games.

More learning disability apps

The Inclusive Technology website has many more iPad and Android apps suitable for children with special educational needs and physical disabilities. 

Top diabetes apps

Top diabetes apps

Diabetes apps are changing the way people manage, track and share information about their condition.

Here, Dr Partha Kar, NHS England's Associate National Clinical Director for Diabetes, selects his favourite five.

Carbs & Cals


Price: £3.99
Available on: iTunes and Google Play

The Carb & Cals app allows you to track your calories by selecting a photo of your meal from a library of more than 3,500 photos of food and drink. Simply compare the food on your plate to the photos in the app, choose the relevant portion size, and get an instant view of the calories and nutrients in your portion. Using photos instead of entering data manually makes this app the quickest way to monitor your diet on the move. You can set your own dietary targets and upload photos of your favourite food and drink. Developed in association with King's College Hospital.


Price: Free
Available on: iTunes and Google Play

With the Diasend app, you can securely upload data from all your different diabetes devices to produce one simple report, which you can use to track your condition and share with your healthcare team. The app is compatible with more than 100 devices, including glucose meters, insulin pumps, continuous glucose monitoring devices (CGMs), mobile apps and activity trackers, such as Fitbit, Jawbone Up and Nike Fuelband. You can also connect the app with an online account on the Diasend website, where you can view all your data presented in easy to understand tables and graphs.


Price: Free
Available on: iTunes and Google Play

mySugr was designed to make tracking your diabetes fun and motivating. The app turns logging data into a game with a points system and short and playful challenges. Your daily quest is to eat the right foods to tame your "diabetes monster", a cute little green creature. The app helps you control your blood sugar levels, monitor your carbs, track your insulin use, and avoid hypers and hypos. You can also add photos of meals and emoticons that capture actions and mood. All this fun has a serious side – to help improve your diabetes management.

Sugar Smart

Price: Free

Available on: iTunes and Google Play

The Sugar Smart app shows you quickly and easily how much sugar is in many shop-bought foods and drinks. The app, from Public Health England, lets you scan the barcode of different products so you can see how many 4g cubes of sugar each contains. You can also keep track of the last 10 products you've scanned. Use the app to make healthier choices and cut your sugar intake.

Diabetes Diagnostics

Price: Free
Available on: iTunes and Google Play

Diabetes Diagnostics is designed to help you get the correct treatment when you're first diagnosed. The app, developed by Exeter University, uses test results, including a genetic risk score, and calculators to identify the most likely type of diabetes, from type 1 and 2 diabetes to rarer forms of the disease. Getting an accurate diagnosis from the start can help reduce the chance of someone receiving the wrong treatment, which can be harmful.

How to wash your hands

How to wash your hands

Washing your hands is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself and others from illnesses such as food poisoning and flu.

But what's the best handwashing technique?

Washing your hands properly should take about as long as singing "Happy Birthday" twice (around 20 seconds). Use the following steps from the World Health Organization while you hum:

1. Wet your hands with water (warm or cold).

2. Apply enough soap to cover all over your hands.

3. Rub hands palm to palm.

4. Rub the back of your left hand with your right palm with interlaced fingers. Repeat with the other hand.

5. Rub your palms together with fingers interlaced.

6. Rub the backs of your fingers against your palms with fingers interlocked.

7. Clasp your left thumb with your right hand and rub in rotation. Repeat with your left hand and right thumb.

8. Rub the tips of your fingers in the other palm in a circular motion, going backwards and forwards. Repeat with the other hand.

9. Rinse hands with water (warm or cold).

10. Dry thoroughly, ideally with a disposable towel.

 11. Use the disposable towel to turn off the tap.

You can use alcohol-based handrub if you don't have immediate access to soap and water.

How often should we wash our hands?

We should wash our hands:

  • after using the toilet
  • after handling raw foods like chicken, meat and vegetables
  • before eating or handling ready to eat food
  • after having contact with animals, including pets

Why is it so important to wash hands properly?

Washing your hands properly removes dirt, viruses and bacteria to stop them spreading to other people and objects, which can spread illnesses such as food poisoningflu or diarrhoea.

"Hands are easily contaminated with faecal bacteria [poo] when going to the toilet and this can be easily spread on to other things you touch, including food," says Professor Jeremy Hawker, a consultant epidemiologist at Public Health England.

"Unfortunately, not all people consistently wash their hands after going to the toilet or before handling food.

"Washing your hands with soap and water is sufficient to remove dirt, viruses or bacteria and it can reduce the risk of diarrhoea by nearly 50%."

Who is most at risk from the effects of poor hand hygiene?

Children are particularly at risk of picking up infections and spreading them to other people.

It's especially important to make sure that hands are washed when you're visiting someone in hospital or other healthcare setting, to help prevent the spread of infection.

Watch this video to see the handwashing technique in action.

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