Cancer has an incidence of more than 18 million new cases each year. Both the challenges of the disease and the side-effects of treatment can degrade patients’ mental health. For example, depression and anxiety affect up to 20% of cancer patients, compared to the average 5% of the general population.
It’s true that healthcare personnel can easily recognize signs of poor mental health while they follow the patient in consultation; but doing so becomes harder when the person recovers some autonomy. Moreover, if the follow-up process focuses on the oncological side, it may overlook patients’ mental health status. This can result in neglecting survivors’ psychological and emotional well-being, leading to a diminished quality of life.
The FAITH solution
The Horizon 2020 research project FAITH believes in a holistic approach to cancer care and survivorship. The project is developing an innovative, AI-based solution to support the mental health status of post treatment cancer patients. The solution relies on an App installed on patients’ mobile devices to gather data; it will combine activity tracking and proactive user engagement to track targeted depression markers. Based on this information, FAITH will help to detect mental health downward trajectories in cancer survivors outside of face-to-face consultations. In addition, the FAITH solution will inform the users’ healthcare team of possible negative trends, allowing well-timed intervention. This means that cancer survivors who begin to experience mental health declines will receive attention from their healthcare services as early as possible, thus improving their quality of life.
But how does this solution really work to benefit cancer patients? Hear it from the testimony of the very people working in the project.
Our role in the FAITH project
Within FAITH, Deep Blue contributes to the collection of requirements and users’ needs and leads the dissemination efforts of the project.
Last year, in order to contribute to the creation of new human-centered solutions for the mental health of cancer survivors, Deep Blue investigated the current technological vanguard, and created a dedicated tool to ease its exploration: the FAITH Database Dashboard. We designed the Dashboard specifically to this scope. It is a unique, interactive tool displaying knowledge and technological solutions about mental health and cancer survivorship. Initially launched as an internal research tool, it is accessible to anyone interested in navigating resources on mental health and cancer.
Read more about our Dashboard and its design process on the FAITH website, or try it yourself.