An Assessment of Physical Activity Data Collected via a Smartphone App and a Smart Band in Breast Cancer Survivors: Observational Study

J Med Internet Res. 2019 Sep 6;21(9):13463. doi: 10.2196/13463.


Background: Although distress screening is crucial for cancer survivors, it is not easy for clinicians to recognize distress. Physical activity (PA) data collected by mobile devices such as smart bands and smartphone apps have the potential to be used to screen distress in breast cancer survivors.

Objective: The aim of this study was to assess data collection rates of smartphone apps and smart bands in terms of PA data, investigate the correlation between PA data from mobile devices and distress-related questionnaires from smartphone apps, and demonstrate factors associated with data collection with smart bands and smartphone apps in breast cancer survivors.

Methods: In this prospective observational study, patients who underwent surgery for breast cancer at Asan Medical Center, Seoul, Republic of Korea, between June 2017 and March 2018 were enrolled and asked to use both a smartphone app and smart band for 6 months. The overall compliance rates of the daily PA data collection via the smartphone walking apps and wearable smart bands were analyzed in a within-subject manner. The longitudinal daily collection rates were calculated to examine the dropout pattern. We also performed multivariate linear regression analysis to examine factors associated with compliance with daily collection. Finally, we tested the correlation between the count of daily average steps and distress level using Pearson correlation analysis.

Results: A total of 160 female patients who underwent breast cancer surgeries were enrolled. The overall compliance rates for using a smartphone app and smart bands were 88.0% (24,224/27,513) and 52.5% (14,431/27,513), respectively. The longitudinal compliance rate for smartphone apps was 77.8% at day 180, while the longitudinal compliance rate for smart bands rapidly decreased over time, reaching 17.5% at day 180. Subjects who were young, with other comorbidities, or receiving antihormonal therapy or targeted therapy showed significantly higher compliance rates to the smartphone app. However, no factor was associated with the compliance rate to the smart band. In terms of the correlation between the count of daily steps and distress level, step counts collected via smart band showed a significant correlation with distress level.

Conclusions: Smartphone apps or smart bands are feasible tools to collect data on the physical activity of breast cancer survivors. PA data from mobile devices are correlated with participants' distress data, which suggests the potential role of mobile devices in the management of distress in breast cancer survivors.

Trial registration: NCT03072966;

Keywords: breast neoplasms; mobile apps; mobile phone; patient compliance; quality of life; smartphone; stress, psychological; survivorship; telemedicine; wearable electronic devices.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Neoplasms / mortality
  • Cancer Survivors
  • Data Collection / methods*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Mobile Applications / statistics & numerical data
  • Prospective Studies
  • Smartphone / standards*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires

Associated data