New study uses Fitbit Charge HR 4 to access physical function in prostate cancer patients

Fitbit Charge 4

Physical function is a known predictor of quality of life in advanced prostate cancer patients and a key measure of treatment tolerability. 

While current treatment protocols such as with Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT) improves survival, it is associated with significant toxicities that lead to physical function (PF) decline in patients.

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Treating prostate cancer and its physical impacts

With over 2.9 million prostate cancer survivors in the US, there is an increasing demand for adequate symptom monitoring and PF assessment throughout cancer care. However, there are currently no validated methods to systematically evaluate and predict PF decline.

Cedars-Sinai Medical center, counted among the top 10 hospitals across the US, has launched a study to evaluate the Role of Wearable Technology and Patient-reported Outcomes to Monitor Physical Function Decline in Prostate Cancer Survivors.

How Cedars-Sinai uses the Fitbit in its study

The study plans on using Fitbit Charge HR4 or similar models to help with continuous monitoring of physical activity of patients including step counts heart rate, sleep metrics, etc while the patient is undergoing prostate cancer treatment.

Study outcome measures detailed

The study will measure two primary metrics in order to evaluate the outcomes.

The first is the patient-reported physical function decline within three months of starting the treatment, and the second is the absolute change in average step counts provided by the Fitbit Charge.

Wearables increasingly adopted in clinical trials

It’s clear that wearables are shaping up to become of the most important diagnosis and monitoring tools today.

In certain studies, the data collected from wearables such as Fitbit is being analyzed using platforms such as iCardia to create additional value as evident in the new clinical trial launched by the University of Chicago called “We Walk+ Study in older adults”. 

This new University of Chicago study also uses Fitbit Charge HR and combines that with the iCardia platform for monitoring daily Fitbit physical activity and wear time and sending personalized text-messages targeting physical activity and self-efficacy.

Detecting, monitoring, and improving physical activity

The designers of this new study promote physical activity and improve cognition for older adults with intellectual disabilities (ID).

Mobility Metrics are key to wearables

Since many of these wearables are being used in various clinical trials to monitor QOL(quality of life) and physical function, companies such as Apple are building out additional functionalities to their wearables to support the requirements.

For example, the new Mobility Metrics feature in watchOS 7 allows users to take the Six-minute walk test (SMWT) from their homes instead of visiting a physician’s office.


As tech companies improve wearable features, we will find more and more use cases not only in the area of front line detection but more importantly in the area of personalized chronic disease management and remote monitoring.

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Sudz Niel Kar
I am a technologist with years of experience with Apple and wearOS products, have a BS in Computer Science and an MBA specializing in emerging tech, and owned the popular site AppleToolBox. In my day job, I advise Fortune 500 companies with their digital transformation strategies and also consult with numerous digital health startups in an advisory capacity. I'm VERY interested in exploring the digital health and fitness-tech evolution and keeping a close eye on patents, FDA approvals, strategic partnerships, and developments happening in the wearables and digital health sector. When I'm not writing or presenting, I run with my Apple Watch Ultra or Samsung Galaxy Watch and closely monitor my HRV and other recovery metrics.


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