Cancer is a scary prospect, and we need all the help we can get to understand what it is, how it's treated, and how to cope with it. Some applications for the Apple iPad tablet have risen to the task, or parts of it.
A guide to 120 types of cancer is part of Cancer.net Mobile, from the American Society of Clinical Oncology. This free app has information about treatment, costs, and side effects, and helps patients and families manage life with cancer. Unfortunately, links to a video and podcast of "When the Doctor Says Cancer" were not working when we tested the app.
Tools in the app let you log symptoms and side effects and note the questions that you need to take to the doctor's office, when you could be nervous and forget. And the screen with your question also has a button for recording the doctor's answer for your later review.
There's a section in the app about clinical trials and how to decide about participating. The section includes dozens of questions to ask of the people suggesting or running a trial, to make sure you understand what you're getting into.
Understand Skin Cancer, by Understand.com, is a free set of three short animated videos about the most common form of cancer in the United States. Videos illustrate the importance of choosing and using sunscreen, the causes of skin cancer, and what's involved in the surgery to remove cancerous skin lesions.
Cure Magazine for iPad, by RR Donnelley, is a free magazine aimed at cancer patients, caregivers, and survivors. You can download or directly view the magazine or a related 2011 Cancer Resource Guide, with sections on cancer "staging," therapies, dealing with emotions, insurance, and other financial matters and age-related issues.
The current magazine has articles on how to avoid being overtreated, parenting a child with cancer, and "dating after cancer."
A sobering "cancer counter" totals the estimated cases so far this year for breast cancer and breast-cancer deaths worldwide and in the United States on the free app called Breast Cancer 411, by the Breast Health & Healing Foundation. The app delivers news about breast-cancer research, with social-networking buttons for tweeting and Facebooking. Information is from the foundation's website and blog.
"Ten things you need to know about breast cancer" covers statistics, risk factors, prevention, therapies, and survival rates.
The American Cancer Society Journal for iPad, from Wiley Publishing, is a free source of regular news and abstracts from the society's publications. Open full articles or share what you see via Facebook and Twitter by tapping the "share" button in the upper right corner.
(c)2011 The Philadelphia Inquirer Distributed by Mclatchy-Tribune News Service.