An iPhone Application Intervention to Promote Surveillance Among Women with a BRCA Mutation: Pre-intervention Data

Stephanie A. Cohen*, Courtney Lynam Scherr, Dawn M. Nixon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Women with BRCA mutations, at significantly increased risk for breast and ovarian cancer, do not consistently adhere to management guidelines due to lack of awareness and challenges tracking appointments. We developed an iPhone application (app) to help BRCA carriers manage their surveillance. We explored baseline awareness and adherence to surveillance guidelines and analytic data from 21 months of app use. Descriptive statistics were calculated on responses (N = 86) to a survey about surveillance awareness and practices. The majority were aware of breast surveillance guidelines, but only one third were aware of ovarian surveillance guidelines. In practice, the majority reported a clinical breast exam within 6 months, just over half reported a mammogram and breast MRI in the last year, and under half reported ovarian surveillance in the last year. Nearly 50% reported difficulty remembering appointments. Although only 69 received access codes, 284 unique users attempted to enter the app, which was visible in the iTunes store but only available to those with a study code. Evaluation of analytic data demonstrated user engagement with study participants accessing the app 427 times over the 21-month time period (range 2–57; mean = 6.28). Results indicate participants were more likely to know screening guidelines than practice them. There was interest in the app and users were engaged, suggesting app value. We will send a follow-up survey after 18 months of app use for additional evaluation and feedback.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)446-456
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Genetic Counseling
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018


  • BRCA carriers
  • Health communication
  • Surveillance adherence
  • mHealth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)


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