Dana-Farber offers web communities for cancer patients, survivors and families


Nancy Borstelmann, MPH, LICSWNancy Borstelmann, MPH, LICSW

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has launched a wide range of web-based communities to offer its patients and their families an easy, online way to seek and provide support to one another.

Dana-Farber patients and families who join CancerConnect may participate in more than 60 disease-specific national communities for individuals with similar interests in a private, confidential, safe, and secure environment.

"CancerConnect allows Dana-Farber patients and families to join an online circle of other cancer patients, survivors, family members, and friends," says Nancy Borstelmann, MPH, LICSW, director, Patient/Family Support and Education at Dana-Farber. "They can safely express their thoughts, pose questions, voice concerns, or just read what others have to say."

CancerConnect offers groups focused on wide array of specific topics, including caregiving, clinical trials and survivorship. Patients, families and staff members may also establish local communities that address specific Dana-Farber topics. In addition, CancerConnect will feature discussions led by physicians and other cancer-related experts.

With input from patients and survivors, Dana-Farber already has used CancerConnect to create an online community for its Young Adult Program to provide resources for coping, real-time support groups, and archived educational workshops for young adults with cancer.

On the national level, CancerConnect is being used by several leading cancer centers in the United States and currently more than 15,000 cancer patients are using the platform to interact with one another.

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