BECCA: Easing The Loneliness of The Breast Cancer Journey
I was contacted earlier this year by Breast Cancer Care, a UK-based breast cancer charity who had just launched the test phase of a web-app called BECCA’ (BrEast Cancer Care App). The app targets that difficult time we go through when we finish active treatment but support from medical teams (and sometimes friends and family support) drops away. I remember this time as being so dreadfully lonely, bewildering and scary as the long-term impact of breast cancer starts to sink in.
When I first started Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer, it was to find support along my own journey, and as time passed to share my experience to help ease the loneliness for others. There weren’t that many (if any) apps that I can recall at the time I set up my blog. I sure would have welcomed something like BECCA to help guide me, with its day-to-day strategies, information about coping, tips on well-being, and peer-led advice.
Back to the beginning of this story. I was contacted and asked if I would like to submit some content to the app. Of course, I said yes, but then the months passed, and to my shame I never found the time to do it. Looking at the app now, I am so impressed with the content that users have submitted. Their information features as a digital deck of cards for users to shuffle through, each linking to an external site with further ideas or information.
If you are at the point in your cancer experience where you have finished treatment and wondering what happens next, I highly encourage you to check out the peer-led support you will find on BECCA. Alongside the information cards, you will also find a Blogs section. Dealing with issues ranging from menopause to dating, sexual confidence and body image, they are a wonderful source of information and support.
Looking through this section, these blogs caught my eye (titles are hyper-linked; click to open).
- If you have an unsuccessful day, don’t dwell on it – try again the next day. Don’t push yourself.
- “When’s the right time to tell someone you have one breast?” We spoke to women dating after diagnosis.
- How breast cancer took my confidence and sexual identity – and how I found them again.
- I didn’t have a reconstruction. I just thought, ‘This is how I look. I’m going to have to go with it’
If you are further along the post-treatment phase, do consider adding your own hard-won wisdom to the app, which is constantly updated with new content. It’s super-easy to submit information through the Typeform content creator which will guide you through what is needed.
Regular readers will know how much I love quotations, and one that sprang to mind when I was writing this is from William Nicolson:
I remember hearing once that the two scariest times with cancer, is the day you are diagnosed and the day you finish treatment. I think we can add to this statement that the day you finish treatment is also one of the loneliest too. One of the things we can do for each other is to ease that loneliness by sharing our stories and the lessons we have learned along the way. BECCA provides a safe and friendly way to do this. Try it for yourself and let me know what you think.
If you’ve been through breast cancer, you may find it hard adjusting to your new life. Whether you’re experiencing side effects of treatment, wondering how to adopt a healthier lifestyle or finding it hard to make sense of your breast cancer experience, it can be difficult to adapt and find your ‘new normal’.
BECCA offers day-to-day strategies, hints and tips to help you move forward. The simple flashcards give you information on everything from well-being and mindfulness to peer-led advice – letting you know you’re not alone in your experience and helping you to adjust to a life beyond breast cancer.
Don’t have a smartphone?
Not to worry, you can still access all the helpful information in BECCA-lite, a lighter, web version of the app, on your tablet, iPad, laptop or desktop computer.