Breast cancer support groups are thriving on the Internet. And with good reason: not only do they provide the social benefits of traditional groups, but they also offer 24/7 access, privacy and encyclopedic answers. Here are some intriguing sites:
Pink-Link is divided into different areas catering to three types of people affected by breast cancer: women undergoing treatment, those in remission, and friends and family. All users can access a social networking component and a well-stocked e-library. Special services made easier by the web? A blog that’s easy to update and a calendar to organize rides to the doctor and casserole drop-offs.
Practical sections, like recommended books and tax tips, are combined with “Stories of Hope” and discussion boards. We were most impressed by monthly Ask-the-Expert Online Conferences, with topics like “managing chemo brain” and “the doctor-patient relationship.” Archived transcripts are available for perusal.
Friends In Need
Like a traditional support group, Friends In Need encourages the therapy that happens when women chat with other women. The site lets you pick your preferred mode of communication, and lists the AOL and MSN instant messengers and Skype names of women who have signed up on the site. A photo album lets you see pictures members have uploaded, making it easy to match a face with a (screen) name.
Network of Strength
With articles covering a variety of issues, this site is a perfect example of how an online support group can be a much deeper resource pool than your regional group. Short, informative articles are divided into “taking care of yourself,” “survivorship,” “relationships” and “caring for a loved one.”