For women undergoing breast-cancer treatment, receiving support from family and friends is important for the recovery process. But there is one source of support that is often overlooked: fellow breast-cancer patients who are going through the very same thing.
As the first social network that connects women facing breast cancer, MyBreastCancerTeam seeks to address this. Throughout the stages of cancer, users can connect to women who are in the same situation as them: those undergoing treatment, those recently diagnosed, or those who have been out of treatment for many years.
“When you’re diagnosed with breast cancer, you have this overwhelming desire to find other women, just like you, who have been through this,” Mary Ray, co-founder of MyBreastCancerTeam, tells Mashable. “You want to learn from them; get perspective, assurance and validation from them. And you don’t just want to hear from one woman like you; ideally, you want to find 10 to 20 women who were the same age, had the same type and stage of breast cancer. By its definition, MyBCTeam as a social network is purely focused on connecting women with each other, who’ve been through breast cancer.”
“Due to the nature of what women on MyBCTeam have in common, what they’re going through and what they’ve been through, they often tell us they feel closer to each other on MyBCTeam than they do their closest friends or family,” Ray says.
Launched in September, the website sprang from MyHealthTeams, a company that develops social networks for chronic conditions and diseases. It also created MyAutismTeam.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so there have been a surge of pink breast-cancer related products and innovations available. One in particular is the First Warning Systems’ Breast Tissue Screening Bra; it is a sensor bra that measures cell temperature changes associated with blood vessel growth that feed tumors. Back in August, researchers unveiled an ultrasonic robotic hand that could one day be used to detect lumps.
But for women battling breast cancer, social support may be one of the most useful tools for staying mentally healthy throughout the fight.
“Studies have consistently underscored the value of social support in the psycho-social adjustment and enhancement of the quality of life for women during and after treatment,” Ray says. “What I envision happening is that the majority of doctors will recognize that the social connections women forge on MyBCTeam fits onto a continuum of care — care that extends beyond the medical office during treatment and through remission. It’s only a matter of time before doctors will be prescribing MyBCTeam for any woman who’s been given a breast cancer diagnosis.”