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Oman's breast cancer app key to early detection.

Summary: Fatma's Pinky Promise aims to help those who are hesitant to approach physicians regarding the disease

Image Credit: By Nickyta Ray, Special to Gulf News

Muscat: A first-of-its kind mobile app in Oman is seeking to stem increasing cases of breast cancer by helping in its early detection.

Named Fatma's Pinky Promise, the app that is available for free download on both iStore and Google Play, was conceptualised by medical professionals based in Oman. It is named after an Omani woman who died of the disease, and has been sponsored by her family, which regularly supports cancer-related projects in the Sultanate and is run by institutions such as OCA and Barakath Al Noor Clinic, a speciality clinic for breast cancer.

The app, which is the second initiative of its kind in the GCC, is an interactive tool with features that help people across Oman reduce breast cancer deaths through early detection. While regular monthly breast self-examinations are key to early detection and tackling of the disease, the app helps through a four-pronged process: clarifying what is breast cancer; providing information on how it can be prevented; informing on when to do check-ups; and instructing on how to do it.

The app updates users on self-examination, helps set reminders on yearly clinical check-ups and monthly Self Breast Examination (SBE). A "Share" feature helps users create a "pink link" to notify their contacts about the app.

The developer of the app is the Barakath Al Noor Clinic, which got it designed by Dr Sri Mookambika, Periodontist at Harub Dental Surgery, and Sai Aditya, an engineer. The app is also sponsored by Oman's Mohsin Haider Darwish.

"The app is conceptualised to reach out to everyone and serves as a constant reminder on early detection and self-examination," Dr Mookambika told Gulf News .

Dr Rajyashree N. Kutty, director and specialist surgeon at the Barakath Al Noor Clinic, was instrumental in convincing the clinic's team about the need for an app for women who hesitate to approach and receive medical care to detect breast cancer. After the design process, the app was further developed and built in India by Jeygopinath and team at Stackon Technologies Pvt Ltd.

User friendly

Jeygopinath, CEO, Stackon Technologies, said: "During the initial stage of the app's creation we decided to name it Pinky Promise. Later it was renamed after Fatma, who died of breast cancer. We proceeded to do the artwork by etching out designs for the app with the aim of making it user-friendly and visually appealing. After the design was approved, the technical team took over to build the app."

Fatma's Pinky Promise seems to have already made an impact in the Sultanate. Speaking about the app, a user, Noora Al Balushi, told Gulf News: "The easy-to-use features of the app makes it accessible to a larger group. SBE and yearly check-ups are regularised with the help of the app. I have gained great insights into breast cancer and the advantages of early detection."

Another user, Faris, said: "The app is interactive and allows me to schedule appointments and set reminders for the women in my family. I have used the 'Share' feature, allowing me to become the 'pink link' and inform a chosen group about the app. The app is key for a complete cure to breast cancer and answers several doubts about the disease."

Another user who did not wish to reveal her name, said: "Fatma's Pinky Promise answers key questions on breast cancer especially for most women who say, 'I don't have time for myself'."

Dr Rajyashree told Gulf News : "The app was conceptualised to reduce the incidence of breast cancer by spreading awareness regarding its symptoms and signs. Apart from the app, doctors, cancer-survivors in the country, octogenarians, ambassadors of countries and heads of institutions are involved in cancer-related activities, such as cancer walkathons, creating social awareness by way of lectures, visiting educational institutions to teach breast self-examination, developing palliative care and caring for terminally-ill patients.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7OMAN
Date:Jan 5, 2018
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