Media Room

Cancer Council launches new Online Community for all people affected by cancer

25th November 2016 - Patient support Organisational news

With the digital world changing how many people affected by cancer are seeking information and support, Cancer Council is embracing the online space with the launch of its new Online Community.

On average per month, there are over 30,500 searches on Google for cancer related terms such as ‘living with cancer’, ‘support groups’, ‘I’ve just been diagnosed’, ‘treatment and side effects’ and more[1].

The Cancer Council Online Community offers people currently living with cancer, cancer survivors, families, carers and the wider cancer community the opportunity to connect, share experiences and find information and support in a safe forum.

At least 82,000 newly diagnosed people will search online for information each year[2], with approximately 42,000 people visiting an online support group forum at least once[3]. Research shows that the provision of online information to people affected by cancer helps them to gain control, reduce anxiety, improve their adherence with treatment, create realistic expectations, promote self-care and generate feelings of safety and security[4].

Through blogs, discussion forums and support groups, members can discuss their experiences and share stories, tips and coping strategies to help normalise concerns and reduce social isolation.

Cancer Council NSW’s Lead Supportive Care Manager, Hannah Baird said the Online Community aimed to reduce isolation by encouraging people affected by cancer to share their stories and build meaningful online relationships with other people in similar situations.

“What we are seeing through our peer support programs is more and more people are now turning to digital platforms for information and support, to connect with others who can relate to what they are experiencing,” said Ms Baird.

Cancer Council NSW is embracing new and innovative ways for people to seek information and support. The platform is designed to complement existing Cancer Council NSW information and support services, connecting people with each other in real time, regardless of when they seek information.

“What’s most appealing about the platform is its accessibility – it’s available 24/7 and from any online device. There are closed groups for sensitive issues and the entire website is moderated and community managed by qualified health professionals,” added Ms Baird.

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Cancer Council NSW Media Contacts:

Deahna Voulgaris | deahna.voulgaris@nswcc.org.au | 02 9334 1871 / 0431 727 080

Isabelle Dubach | isabelle.dubach@nswcc.org.au | 02 9334 1872 / 0401 524 321

Meg Cockle | meg.cockle@nswcc.org.au | 02 9334 1987 / 0422 693 238 

Notes to Editors:

The Cancer Council Online Community is for people over 18 years of age. People under 18 years old are advised to visit CanTeen Australia’s website which is tailored for this age group.

The platform is designed to complement existing Cancer Council NSW information and support services outside of business hours, connecting people with each other in real time, regardless of when they seek information or support.

The Online Community is a platform where people are encouraged to share their stories. Anyone seeking information can view the content on the Online Community, including blogs, online discussions, and all public information. However only community members can engage on the platform e.g. comment, publish blogs, interact with other members etc. Everyone has anonymity so there is no added worry about people knowing who they are.

The Online Community caters for everyone who has been affected or touched by cancer. While breast cancer and bowel cancer tend to be prevalent, we want to cultivate the same safe space for any cancer type. There are also groups for less talked about cancers.

When people visit the Online Community home page they are immediately presented with bespoke pathways to ensure they are connecting with people in similar situations i.e.

  • I have cancer
  • I had cancer
  • Family, friends and carers

[1] Google Keyword Planner Data via Atomic 212 – Nov, 2016

[2] Monnier J, Laken M. Carter CL. Patient and caregiver interest in internet-based cancer services. Cancer Pract.2002. Nov –Dec 10 (6) 305-10

[3] Chung.J.E.2014. Social Networking in Online support groups for Health: How Online Social Networking benefits patients. Journal of Health Communication: International Perspectives. 19:6, 269-659

[4] Eysenbach G The impact of the internet on cancer outcomes. CA Cancer J.Clin 2003. Nov –Dec, 53 (6) 356-71)

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