Today’s youth are typically well-versed in technology — a reality that is helping young cancer patients.
Web and mobile applications are increasingly used for information sharing, and such technology is also now being relied on for people seeking emotional support. With just a few clicks, people all over the world can connect, share stories, and find much-needed solidarity.
One organization pursuing such a strategy is The Children’s Eye Cancer Foundation, based in Germany. Its new app, RB-World, provides online help for cancer patients, specifically those battling retinoblastoma. The disease originates in the retinal region in the eye and most commonly develops in childhood. For that reason, RB-World is open to patients and survivors as young as 12. The free app allows users to instantly connect with other people who’ve been diagnosed with retinoblastoma. While they can share medical advice and information, the app largely encourages users to share stories.
Isolation can be a very real risk after a cancer diagnosis; a patient may feel like no one in his or her life can relate to the fears and frustrations that cancer can bring on a daily basis. With RB-World, however, patients have instant access to a sea of people who’ve faced the same challenges as them. The app functions as a virtual support group. In-person groups may be intimidating for some patients, but this app provides the benefits of such groups in a comfortable online space.
RB-World organizers tout both the safety and accessibility of the app. All information users input is SSL-encrypted, which means privacy won’t be violated. Users have to register through a unique invitation code, and can create their own username; the site doesn’t require first or last names. Both smartphone and tablet users can access the app, and it’s accessible both as a Google and Android app. Users can also select their primary language to help them connect with others who speak that language.
Cancer is a challenge that each person faces in his or her own way. But, with the help of online apps like RB-World, patients and survivors can draw strength from others to help them in the fight. As RB-World’s tagline states: “No one should go through RB alone.”