SIMBA Decision Aid Offers Support for Cancer Patients

Even after cancer patients reach the important stage of remission, they are advised to stay vigilant to maintain their health. How they continue to monitor themselves is an important question, one that is being helped by a new web application: SIMBA.

What is SIMBA?

The Surveillance Imaging Modalities for Breast Cancer Assessment is a decision aid that provides support for cancer patients trying to decide the best way to prevent recurrence. The app is specifically designed for breast-cancer survivors, who are faced with the choice of getting regular mammograms or MRIs to monitor their breast health.

There are pros and cons to both approaches, and SIMBA walks patients through all of them. Users are asked to put in specific information about their cancer history and their current health, and SIMBA then outlines what a mammogram would provide versus an MRI, in addition to offering other health tips.

The program doesn’t necessarily recommend one approach over the other but rather lays out all the options, with specifics tailored to the user’s individual health history, to help them make informed decisions.

What Women Want

SIMBA was created by Group Health Research Institute and the Artefact Group, who wanted their product to reflect what breast-cancer patients wanted to see in such a program and offer support for cancer patients.

To achieve that, they worked closely with women who had survived breast cancer and incorporated their opinions into the app’s development. The women advised that it should contain few graphics, especially stock photos of smiling women that are popular on other cancer resources, they said. Instead, they wanted it to focus on the facts, which led to the app’s straightforward, medically centered approach.

Eliminating the frills, bells and whistles has worked for SIMBA. In a test of 33 patients, they reported that SIMBA, when compared to a standard decision aid, helped them understand the information better and made them feel more prepared and confident.

Support for cancer patients is needed at all stages of the cancer journey, and SIMBA provides the confidence and clarity breast-cancer survivors need to continue to maintain their health.

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