The digital age has changed the way we view cancer. As well as offering a world of information, the Internet can offer hope, solace and support with just a few clicks.
On Twitter, clicking a hashtag like #prostatecancer or #breastcancer can instantly return thousands of people who are going through the same thing you are, or lead you to information about the latest treatments or clinical trial.
Facebook groups go one step further, offering a safe haven where it’s OK to share some of the thoughts and fears that you can’t share with your family, friends, or even doctors. Groups can also be passive, offering a place to read and digest other people’s experiences with cancer — a way to know you’re not alone.
Lymphoma News Today columnist Radiant Racheli shares how the fellow lymphoma sufferers she met online have become her closest friends and will be bridesmaids in her wedding. The strength she drew from online support and her YouTube channel helped her through the darkest times — social media became her safe haven.
Blogs, YouTube channels, and Instagram accounts allow users to reach out to others with cancer in faraway places, often allowing firm friendships to form that last way past the final round of chemotherapy. Social media has become the 24-hour support group patients need. They can reach out and touch and be touched by people who truly understand what life with cancer is like.
Cessiley Haderlie knows how important social media can be in the fight against cancer. In an interview with Universe Narratives, she explains how cathartic she found journaling her battle against Hodgin’s lymphoma on her blog and on Instagram and how overwhelmed she was by the support she found online.
As well as offering emotional support, social media is also empowering cancer sufferers like never before. As awomanshealth.com explains, sharing knowledge through online outlets is helping patients make informed decisions and be more proactive about their treatment, often being the ones who bring up new treatment ideas with their doctor rather than waiting for their doctor’s suggestions. Social media is giving people strength and determination with the support of thousands of others who have got their back.
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