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Facing a Serious Diagnosis? 'AfterShock' Now an App


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Receiving bad health news can spark great upheaval. Some people rage against the unfairness and some wither from sadness. Some people lose their faith, others find it. It is a time when nothing is certain and the future looks dark.

The new, free app AfterShock: Facing a Serious Diagnosis offers a basic roadmap through the first few days and weeks after a serious diagnosis, providing concise information and trusted resources to help you regain a bit of control during this turbulent time. Whether your diagnosis is cancer, Alzheimer's disease, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis or another condition, the decisions you make about your care will have an important impact on you and your loved ones.

This app is based on the book AfterShock by Jessie Gruman, founder and president of the Center for Advancing Health. Having faced cancer five different times, Jessie also interviewed over 200 people about their experiences facing a serious diagnosis and included their perspectives.

The AfterShock app is a pocket-friendly, condensed version of the book. The app includes need-to-know information including quotes from people like you who were faced with a serious diagnosis, with advice on:

  • Getting Through the Shock
  • Learning About Your Diagnosis
  • Learning About Treatment Options
  • Telling Others
  • Finding Good Doctors and Hospitals
  • Getting a Second Opinion
  • Making Your Appointments
  • Finding a Little Relief

We hope AfterShock is a helpful companion and organizer during this unstable period. Your experience with your diagnosis is unique to you, so you may find some sections more useful than others. At a time when little may be certain and you are faced with many choices, AfterShock shows you some steps you can take to try to live for as long and as well as you can.

The Center for Advancing Health is very grateful to the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for its support in the development of the AfterShock app.


With the AfterShock app, you can:

  • Read the chapters, which are organized in a sequence of steps you are likely to face after getting a serious diagnosis.
  • Make notes to remind you of questions or things you want to save for later use.
  • Use the web browser to check out the resources we selected based on their trustworthiness and accuracy.  You will likely find others as you scan the web. 
  • Bookmark resources you want to save to read again.
  • Coordinate and add new contacts like the names, phone numbers and addresses of new doctors or health care providers with your iPhone or iPad contact lists.
  • Schedule appointments using your iPhone or iPad calendar.
  • Save basic health information like your health insurance information, your primary care doctor, any allergies or current medications.

Privacy Protections

Any information you create using the AfterShock app is private. The Center for Advancing Health (CFAH) does not track any web browsing you do using the AfterShock app. CFAH accepts no corporate sponsorship and receives no revenue from any links to external resources. 

How to Get the AfterShock App

Available for free downloading in Apple's iTunes store, AfterShock is currently compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.

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