Dear Members of the SU2C Community:
This morning we are proud to announce an initiative that will both help scientists understand the emerging coronavirus pandemic and ensure the needs of cancer patients and survivors are being included as the research goes forward.
A SU2C-supported researcher, also a Lead Investigator on the famed Harvard-led Nurses’ Health Studies which includes over 280,000 participants, helped develop a mobile-phone app to allow people to report any symptoms they may have that could be the result of a COVID-19 infection. The app, called COVID Symptom Tracker, was originally created in the UK and is available now in the US for download on Apple (iOS) and Android cellphones. With just a few questions, to be filled in daily, scientists will have the ability to track the development (or not) of symptoms from millions of people.
At SU2C’s advice, scientists added questions related to a cancer diagnosis and treatments, such as if they are living with cancer, what type of cancer, what treatment they are receiving, if they are in a clinical trial and where they are receiving treatment. The medical community knows that individuals with cancer and those receiving anti-cancer therapies are at increased risk for increased risk for having a more severe course of the illness, although more research is being done to better understand the connection.
This invaluable data will be analyzed at Massachusetts General Hospital in collaboration with Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Kings College in the UK, and Stanford University School of Medicine, and will be used to both better understand how different individuals experience COVID-19 and to rapidly identify emerging clusters of COVID-19 infections.
Each year, over 1.7 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer, and over 16.9 million Americans are cancer survivors. By participating in the COVID Symptom Tracker, our community will be helping scientists answer urgent questions that can be matters of life and death for many of us and our loved ones. We encourage patients and their families and loved ones to download the app and participate in this remarkable research.
Sung Poblete, PhD, RN
CEO, Stand Up To Cancer