By: Ryan Jaslow
An estimated 227,000 women will develop breast cancer in the United States in 2012. A new social network has launched that aims to connect many of these women with others in similar situations.
MyBreastCancerTeam launched in September ahead of October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The site aims to connect women with breast cancer to others, to learn more about their experiences or just lend an ear to listen.
“It’s like crowdsourcing the best information,” Mary Ray, co-founder of MyBreastCancerTeam, told CBSNews.com.
When users sign up, they can list their basic information in the “Who Am I” section of the site, which acts as their profile. Another section called “My story” lets users share their personal story about their diagnosis and how it’s impacted their life.
There’s also an Activity page which functions similar to a feed, where users can let others on the social network know how their day is going.
A section called Meet Others allows users to search for other users based on their age, location, stage of cancer, type of breast cancer (e.g. estrogen/progesterone receptor, HER2, IDC, LCIS) and other details about their disease.
While breast cancer support groups may be help many women, Ray says they may not get the answers they’re looking for because breast cancer affects different types of women differently.
“A 30-year-old might go to a support group with a 65-year-old who isn’t having kids and is postmenopausal,” she said. “There are times you can’t make a once-a-month meeting where people are different from you, is it really worth going for you?”
On MyBreastCancerTeam, users can connect to a profile of a woman of a similar age with a similar type of cancer, and open the “Diagnosis and Treatments” tab to learn more about the type of cancer, treatments she has pursued and other information on health care providers.
“The more you share, the more you’re trusted in the community,” Ray said.
Users can also look up a searchable database of frequently asked questions and answers submitted by other women in the community. If they’re looking for a specific treatment, they can also look up health care providers best suited to meet their personal needs in their area.
Each profile also contains a Pinboard function that allows users to share images or even their favorite books. One user, Ida, inspired others by creating a photo-fashion show of her different scarves she wears on her head after she lost her hair from treatment.
The site launched following the success of another of Ray’s sites, MyAutismTeam, which launched last year and has more than 30,000 users, mostly parents of children on the autism spectrum who share their experiences and care providers.
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