Fitness trackers such as Fitbit help cancer patients undergoing treatment

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According to the results of a new study published in the JCO Clinical Cancer Informatics (American Society of Clinical Oncology), Fitness trackers such as the Fitbit Charge can help patients undergoing cancer treatment and reduce toxicity levels.

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The study is named “Feasibility of Fitness Tracker Usage to Assess Activity level and toxicities in patients with Colorectal Cancer”.

This study examines the correlation between mean ‘steps per day’ measured by the fitness trackers and toxicities due to postoperative complications in patients undergoing treatment.

And it found that toxicity was lower among patients who clocked at least five thousand steps per day.

The study concludes by suggesting that physical activity levels in users measured by steps per day using wearable trackers can serve as an adjunct to assessing patients’ overall health.

Furthermore, it concludes that future studies incorporating Fitbit Charge can standardize patient assessment and help identify vulnerable populations.

Overall conclusion, as stated by the study researchers, was 

“We found that using FC (Fitbit Charge) as a diagnostic tool was feasible and acceptable by patients with CRC. The level of activity correlated well with PS (Health Performance Status), and the baseline activity (steps per day) level was associated with toxicities (absolute incidence), but findings were not significant as this study was not designed to study it.”

It is no surprise that our activity levels correlate with our overall health status. This becomes particularly important for people who are recovering from surgery or those with cancer.

Companies such as Apple and Fitbit are therefore working with numerous health sciences companies to not only evaluate the use of wearables for symptom tracking using SpO2 monitoring, resting heart rate, and heart rate variability monitoring but also are working to develop solutions that will help with expedited recovery of patients who have undergone surgeries or other complex procedures.

Apple’s partnership with Zimmer Biomet is a leading example of this initiative. The mymobility platform developed on the Apple Watch via a collaborative effort between Apple and Zimmer Biomet is being used for patients undergoing orthopedic procedures.

Digital health and wellness monitoring are here to stay and only getting started. 

Source: American Society of Clinical Oncology Journal

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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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