Beating cancer related fatigue

Laura Diez

Startup Stories

Millions of cancer patients and survivors worldwide suffer from extreme fatigue. Cancer-Related Fatigue (CRF) is the most common and invalidating side effect of cancer and its treatments. It impacts 80% of all cancer patients in the first year after a cancer diagnosis and 40% suffer chronically, for years even after the cancer itself is cured. CRF affects treatment adherence, work productivity and quality of life. People who suffer from CRF feel so exhausted that it affects all aspects of their lives often resulting in them feeling stressed and depressed. The Problem: Cancer-Related Fatigue is an under addressed need – it is under talked about in appointments, it is under treated by doctors and so a lot of people dealing with CRF are suffering unnecessarily and alone. 

5-HT X-Linker “Digital Health for Pharma” Alumni, Tired of Cancer, helps cancer patients & survivors cope with extreme fatigue. “Our mission is to help as many cancer patients as possible all over the world to improve their energy levels and to regain their quality of life. We aim to reach that goal by offering an easy-to-use, digital solution for CRF in the form of our Untire App,” explains Megan Simpson, Director of Business Development at Tired of Cancer. Read the whole interview to find out what else Megan has to say about the 5-HT X-Linker “Digital Health for Pharma” of April 2022! 


What differentiates you from other startups with similar solutions?

“We provide the Untire app: a software self-management based medical device reducing fatigue and increasing quality of life in cancer patients and survivors. Our app is unique in addressing a huge problem that occurs among millions of cancer patients – cancer related fatigue. Although it is a widely known problem affecting numerous people, it´s still not talked about among patients or within hospitals. The impact of cancer related fatigue is severe.”

Untire App Dashboard 

“As you may have seen, there are more and more cancer support apps popping up these days. A lot of those are based on symptom monitoring and tracking, approaching from a general perspective and gaining insights into how people with cancer are doing. Whilst it’s great to see these, we take a different approach; we are a medical device, we focus closely on the issue that is cancer related fatigue and we actually treat and improve this fatigue as well increasing quality of life. This is something we’ve evidenced the value and effectiveness of through research on an international level.

Untire currently benefits 40.000+ CRF patients globally by: 

·         Reducing fatigue and enhancing quality of life

·         Producing better patient outcomes

·         Optimising resilience during treatment

·         Improving medication adherence

We are established across our four markets: the US, the UK, the Netherlands and Germany but we´ve been used in over 90 different countries. Our content is created to the highest standards, we are working with clinicians who have been in the field for several decades. It is not a health and well-being app - it really is a medical treatment! 

Untire App Dashboard 

How has COVID-19 changed the perspective on digital health? 

“COVID-19 changed the way health care professionals, insurance companies, patients and society in general valued digital solutions for healthcare. Going into the pandemic people were panicking: What do we do? Once digital tools became available and necessary, people became more open to them. Now I feel like the whole healthcare industry has risen to the task. We´ve proven via digital health, via digital therapeutics, that we really have something to contribute to the health system and the digital healthcare world. As an industry we are standing in a much stronger place. People are realizing digital therapeutics were never meant to be a substitution for face-to-face treatment but an addition to it, a way to enhance it. The perception has transformed from we have to try something new even if we don’t want to to how can we use digital tools to unlock the best possible treatment. That shift has been a beautiful thing to see.”

How was your overall experience with the 5-HT X-Linker "Digital Health for Pharma”? 

“The two words that stick out to me the most when I think about our participation in the X-Linker is that it was very exciting and very supportive. I really enjoyed it! I didn’t quite know what I was signing up for at the start but I´m glad that it turned out to be what it was. I´m so grateful to 5-HT Digital Hub - Chemistry & Health for putting together a fantastic day, filled to the brim with inspiring digital health solutions. What a wonderful opportunity to share about what we're doing at Tired of Cancer as well as meet some super people.

I left feeling energized and so excited to see this industry continue to flourish, safe in the knowledge there are so many great people doing so many great things! The day was quite exhilarating – I´ve never been in a virtual workspace like that before. It was a really nice package!”

Tired of cancer founder Door Vonk and Bram Kuiper (from left to right) 

Where do you see yourself in the future and how can 5-HT support your next steps? 

“We´re going down quite a few routes at once: we have just recently grown out our team quite a bit. As mentioned before we´re going into the US while still making sure to keep Germany, the Netherlands and the UK part of our strong base. Something that we´re really looking for is more piloting, which is why it was great to meet with the pharmaceutical companies at the 5-HT X-Linker. We see the need to prove the link between digital tools, increased resilience and medication adherence and the need to have the health economics associated with digital therapeutics. Going forward we´re focusing on further strengthening our research base whilst also conducting successful expansions into markets.” 


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