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C-Tools V2.0

Wed Nov 1, 2006 - 11:44 AM EST - By Harv Laser


C-Tools 2.0 is a modular software package that was developed to help doctors and their staff prevent, diagnose and treat cancer. I loaded it on the Treo of a Doctor friend, and asked him to try it out and describe its usefulness to other MDs. Here’s what he had to say:

C-Tools is a good idea! It’s a modular collection of about a dozen tools and guidelines wrapped inside a master menu program, useful in working with cancer patients and is unlike anything I have seen before. It’s available free of charge from the American Cancer Society.

With enthusiasm, I went through and tried out the different tools in the program.

There’s a body mass index calculator -- overweight patients have a higher risk of cancer and numerous other diseases, and it can help guide a patient toward a healthier lifestyle and give his physician a handy way to calculate and display this index. I will most likely use this tool regularly in my practice.

There are guidelines for each sex and various age groups to better screen and identify patients at risk of cancer. There is a good color picture of a melanoma that should help patients understand more clearly how this type of skin cancer appears, otherwise C-Tools is all text, easily navigated with page-to-page buttons and menu pull downs.

You’ll find a list of signs of cancer in children -- we often forget that children get cancer, too. Especially useful and important are the guidelines on how to talk empathically with patients and their family members about the diagnosis of cancer --- breaking bad news is an art and skill requiring sensitivity and tact, and probably many physicians could use these suggestions to improve their communications skills. Also useful are its critiques of medications used in pain control, with guides on what to use and when. One tool calculates the dose of the new medication when a patient must be converted from one medication to another.

All this is crammed into bit over 1.6 MB, and you can install any or all of the included tools, so this fast, system-friendly program for medical professionals isn't a memory hog. It's also solid as a rock. I never saw a single crash.

Although C-Tools may at first glance seem a bit elementary for most experienced physicians, there are pearls of real value and benefit in it. I’d recommended it, especially to medical students and physicians in postgraduate training.

C-Tools V2.0 is two years old, but it's still an extremely useful and valuable program, and it runs fine on the latest PalmOS Treos, although it must be installed to internal memory to run correctly. The PalmOS version will work on any model Palm running OS3.5 or higher. But the Pocket PC version requires a 240x320 screen, so the Treo "w|x" square screen can't properly handle it. Hopefully, the ACS will rectify that in the future. It's certainly worth writing to them via their contact link and ask them to update it.

The program's components are wrapped in a Windows .exe installer which asks for your HotSync ID then unpacks the .prc and .pdb files into HotSync's Install folder. It'd be useful if they'd modernize that aging method and offer Over The Air download and installation.

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Product Info
> Name C-Tools v2.0
> Company American Cancer Society
> Tested with Treo 650, 700p
> Fact Sheet & User Opinions
> Available

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