How cancer survivors provide support on the internet

Many cancer survivors use the Internet to seek informational and emotional support. I can testify to the crucial role that the Internet played as a health resource when undergoing my treatment for breast cancer and in ways how it affected my treatment choices. I now find the latest up to the minute advances in cancer research with a few strikes of the keyboard and today I feel more empowered as a result.  That’s not to say that I also found myself overwhelmed  at times by the acres of information out there and sometimes conflicting information. That is why it is so vital that the information provided by organisations such as the Irish Cancer Society on their website is the information that users are seeking.  We are looking for the latest research and we are looking for support and answers. So, get the information you need so you are informed about your disease and its treatment and crucially  get that information from reliable sources.

Recently,  I came across a journal  called the Journal of Medical Internet Research and a 2007 study “How Cancer Survivors Provide Support on Cancer-Related Internet Mailing Lists“. It examines how  internet mailing lists are an important way for cancer survivors to find information and support.  The most common topics in survivors’ messages were about treatment information and how to communicate with health care providers. Although expressions of emotional support were less common than informational support, they appeared in all lists. Many messages that contained narratives of illness or treatment did not specifically ask for help but provided emotional support by reassuring listmates that they were not alone in their struggles with cancer.

You can read the study in full here.