Background: Energy balance is defined as the difference between energy expenditure and energy intake. The current state of knowledge supports the need to better integrate mechanistic approaches through effective studies of energy balance in the cancer population because of an observed significant lack of adherence to healthy lifestyle recommendations. To stimulate changes in breast cancer survivors’ lifestyles based on energy balance, our group developed the BENECA (Energy Balance on Cancer) mHealth app. BENECA has been previously validated as a reliable energy balance monitoring system.
Objective: Based on our previous results, the goal of this study was to investigate the feasibility of BENECA mHealth in an ecological clinical setting with breast cancer survivors, by studying (1) its feasibility and (2) pretest-posttest differences with regard to breast cancer survivor lifestyles, quality of life (QoL), and physical activity (PA) motivation.
Methods: Eighty breast cancer survivors diagnosed with stage I to IIIA and with a body mass index over 25 kg/m2 were enrolled in this prospective test-retest quasi-experimental study. Patients used BENECA mHealth for 8 weeks and were assessed at baseline and the postintervention period. Feasibility main outcomes included percentage of adoption, usage, and attrition; user app quality perception measured with the Mobile App Rating Scale (MARS); satisfaction with the Net Promoter Score (NPS); and barriers and facilitators of its use. Clinical main outcomes included measuring QoL with the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer QoL Questionnaire Core 30 (EORT QLQ-C30), PA assessment with accelerometry, PA motivation measure with a Spanish self-efficacy scale for physical activity (EAF), and body composition with dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Statistical tests (using paired-sample t tests) and Kaplan-Meier survival curves were analyzed.
Conclusions: BENECA mHealth can be considered feasible in a real clinical context to promote behavioral changes in the lifestyles of breast cancer survivors, but it needs to be enhanced to improve user satisfaction with use and functionality. This study highlights the importance of the use of mobile apps based on energy balance and how the QoL of breast cancer survivors can be improved via monitoring.