In today’s digital age, many of us head to the ’Net for information, education and entertainment. And when we encounter a problem, the Web can be an important and valuable tool.
That’s an idea that holds true for people facing illnesses: Online help for cancer patients abounds, with websites offering everything from medical advice and information to social support networks.
Online help for cancer patients
Many of the leading national cancer organizations offer patients comprehensive information on their websites.\
For instance, The National Cancer Institute provides a wealth of medical material, from tips on prevention and screening to summaries of the different types of cancers that exist to guides on the practical and emotional steps one needs to take after a diagnosis. While the topics covered are complex, most of the site’s pages are written for a non-medical audience, so the information is understandable for the general public.
The American Cancer Society website also educates in a clear, concise way. It organizes its pages according to a few leading types of cancer — such as breast, lung, prostate and skin — offering information about signs and symptoms, questions to ask a physician, videos from patients and survivors and even interactive quizzes. The site functions as a step-by-step guide to help cancer patients navigate their diagnosis.
The volume of online help for cancer patients can be a bit overwhelming, but Cancer Index condenses and compiles all of those resources in one central location. The website outlines different types of cancer, with links to sites featuring research, stats and resources on each. There’s a lot of information out there, and Cancer Index does a great job of organizing the highlights.
Building a social network
Beyond providing information, many cancer-related websites also seek to unify people whose lives have been impacted by the disease.
In-person cancer support groups exist across the nation but travel costs or physical restrictions may limit some patients’ participation, while others may not feel comfortable sharing their struggle openly. That’s where online support networks can come in.
Just as in-person groups often cater to certain demographics, many online communities are geared to certain communities of patients and survivors.
For instance, Stupid Cancer is a global network for young adults and their families who have been affected by cancer. The site is designed by and for young folks, so it uses relatable and non-clinical language and graphics to convey information to a younger crowd. Building an online community is among one of its goals. As Stupid Cancer notes, “isolation has been shown to be the number-one issue that young adults experience when faced with a cancer diagnosis.” To combat that trend, Stupid Cancer relies heavily on social media. Users are encouraged to follow and engage with the organization on multiple social-media outlets and join regional Facebook groups, many of which host both online and in-person gatherings.
Another interactive and community-specific resource is My Crazy Sexy Life. Founded by Kris Carr, who has been living with an incurable form of cancer for more than a decade, the blog focuses on helping women find their own beauty, despite a cancer diagnosis. Carr encourages comments and feedback on her posts, and promotes a sense of community through her extensive social-media presence and her Stories of Transformation and Member of the Week features that highlight followers.
Even after a patient goes into remission, he or she may still need support; that’s the goal of the Cancer Survivors Network. The site allows members to use discussion boards and chatrooms to talk about their experiences surviving cancer, encouraging them to forge friendships and connections beyond their shared diagnoses. Site members can create individualized profiles to share photos, tell their stories and even write their own blogs — providing an outlet for survivors to express themselves and exchange ideas in a safe and accepting environment.
Like all of these organizations, Life Credit Company provides online help for cancer patients. Our website includes a wealth of information about the financial assistance we offer for cancer patients and their families.
Cancer is a challenging diagnosis, but there are many organizations willing to help patients access resource and build social networks to overcome obstacles.