New App is a SNAP for Women with Hereditary Breast Cancer

When St. Vincent Cancer Care genetic counselors Stephanie Cohen and Dawn Nixon discovered that women with a breast cancer (BRCA) gene mutation were not following recommendations for surveillance, they knew that something had to be done, and the solution was as close as their smartphones.

So Stephanie and Dawn--along with Annie Shaynak, Director of Oncology Services at St. Vincent and Ken Bonhotal of Ascension Information Services--developed a mobile app for the iPhone while using input from women who carry a BRCA gene mutation. The app is designed to prompt women with a BRCA mutation to schedule appointments for surveillance and track progress, with the intent of improving health outcomes.

“The idea for the Scheduling Necessary Advised Procedures (SNAP) app for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer came to us when we followed up with women with BRCA mutations several years after their genetic testing and realized they weren’t following current recommendations for surveillance,” said Stephanie. “So we worked with these women and their healthcare providers to determine the best approach to help them follow surveillance guidelines, with the goal of improving adherence to surveillance and ultimately saving lives and healthcare dollars.”

The app is being studied under an Institutional Review Board-approved protocol to determine its effectiveness. The study is open nationwide to any woman over the age of 18 with a BRCA mutation and at least one intact breast and/or ovary.

For more information and to see a demo of the app, click here.