Systematic Evaluation of the Behavior Change Techniques and Quality of Commercially Available Cancer Self-Management Apps

Meghan E. Mcgrady, Laura E. Schwartz, Amy E. Noser, Kimberly L. Klages, Rachel Sweenie, Gabriella Breen, Rachelle R. Ramsey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: Apps have the potential to aid in cancer self-management, but there is limited guidance available for selecting among currently available options. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the behavior change techniques (BCTs) and quality of publicly available cancer self-management apps. METHODS: Cancer self-management apps were identified from the Apple and Google Play stores in April 2022. Trained study team members coded the BCTs included in each app and rated its quality using the Mobile App Rating Scale (MARS). BCTs supported by previous literature were coded as cancer management BCTs. RESULTS: The 39 apps meeting inclusion criteria included an average of 5.85 BCTs (standard deviation [SD], 3.49; range, 0-15) and 3.54 cancer management BCTs (SD, 1.90; range, 0-8). The most commonly included BCTs were educational or informational strategies: provide information about behavior-health link, provide instruction, and provide information on consequences. The overall app quality ranged from 1.69 to 4.20 (M, 3.29; SD, 0.67). CONCLUSION: No cancer self-management apps were of excellent quality, and less than half included multiple cancer management BCTs beyond education. Clinical implications are discussed, and opportunities to improve the content and quality of apps to address the critical self-management needs of patients diagnosed with cancer are highlighted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e228-e237
JournalJCO Oncology Practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© American Society of Clinical Oncology.

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural


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