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What exactly is this study/program?

The goal of this work is to develop a patient-friendly and effective system for palliating women with breast cancer whose disease is causing them physical distress. A critical part of this activity is to develop methods/tools for measuring women’s symptoms and signs on a regular basis in their own homes, in order to get a more complete picture of their problems, and to provide better ways to determine if treatment is being effective.

Specifically we are trying to develop ways to get daily patient information about pain, mood, weakness, sleep, activity, and verbal interaction with others using cell phones and simple, unobtrusive electronic sensors. If we can do this then we will know better what patients’ actual conditions are and hopefully can provide better help to improve their symptoms, without patients having to leave their homes.

Why are we doing this work in Bangladesh?

In Bangladesh, almost all women with breast cancer have distressing symptoms daily, because their disease is incurable. In our Multidisciplinary Breast Care Center in Khulna we have many patients who need help and because of the large numbers, we can efficiently study how to make things better. Further our Amader Gram partner in Bangladesh is an information technology development organization, and so there are the people to implement a project using cell phones and electronic submission of data to our

Why Bangladesh? There are women all around the world with bad symptoms from breast cancer and other diseases.

Palliative, symptom-directed, and terminal illness care has improved it seems in high income countries, but is still everywhere very “patient unfriendly”.

Think of what happens to anyone you know who has chronic symptoms or is sadly, terminally ill. Unless they are very lucky and have professional help at home daily, they have to make uncomfortable trips to doctors’ offices. Getting care takes a lot of time and effort, symptoms are at best only partially relieved, the costs are high and the whole process is inefficient. We are trying to develop a different way of providing care in these circumstances—a different way which should be useful to everyone, anywhere on the planet.

What do our IBCRF investigative team members have to say?

Dr Rumana Dowla, Principal Investigator, Palliative Care specialist:

“In Bangladesh travel is very difficult, especially for people in rural areas. Our goal in this program is to help women in their own homes who are very uncomfortable .”

Professor Sheikh Iqbal Ahamed, Director the of the Unicomp Research Lab, Marquette University, Milwaukee, and co-principal investigator:



Pictured Left to Right: Fedause Kawsar, Professor Sheikh Iqbal Ahamed, Mohammad Tanviruzzaman, Sharif Hasan, Farzana Rahman, Endadul Hoque

“Electronic –information technology solutions to difficult social problems can be inexpensive and remarkably effective. With our graduate students we are very excited to be tackling real world problems.”

David A. Roe, Retired IBM Project manager, teacher and program consultant:

“The most important question with this program is “Is it doable?” I think the answer is yes.”

Professor James F. Cleary, Director of Palliative Care, University of Wisconsin Comprehensive Cancer Center, and program consultant:

“The challenges in palliative care are always: How do we know we are helping the patient, how do we efficiently modify our efforts to do better, and how can we do these things at low cost, so we can help everyone?” This research program can be very useful in helping us address these challenges everywhere?”

Dr Richard Love, Scientific Director IBCRF:

“This program really gets at a major IBCRF concern: how can science, in this case, information technology science, be better harnessed in the service of man? This program really is “Innovating beyond boundaries” in economic, patient, and technological senses."

To learn more:
Write to Dr. Rumana Dowla or
Professor Sheikh Iqbal Ahamed at

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