This seems an especially appropriate posting since it is about blogging. I know that this blog, Living with Breast Cancer, is not the norm in cancer blogs. I would like to think it is unique; at least, I don't know of any others that attempt to share research and medical information as well as psychosocial contributions. I know that I am a pretty serious person, and I guess this endeavor reflects that. Anyway, here is a nice article and some links from the NCI Cancer Bulletin:
Cancer Survivors Discover the Power of Blogging
Ann Silberman was diagnosed with cancer in August 2009. Two weeks later,
she started writing Breast Cancer? But Doctor...I Hate Pink 1, a blog that puts
a lighter spin on her struggle with breast cancer.
"I am able to take myself out of treatment
and uncomfortable situations by thinking about how I'm
going to write about it, or by looking for the humor in a
situation for my readers," Silberman said. "By being able
to write about cancer for other people, I find that I am
able to focus on the positives rather than the negatives,
because that is what I want my readers to do."
Nancy Morgan, director of the Arts and Humanities
Program at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
at Georgetown University, affirmed the power of blogging
"The people I encounter at Lombardi who blog about their
cancer are very much empowered by their ability to
articulate thoughts and feelings about cancer and to link
with others," Morgan said. "One person's courage to write
inspires another to express their feelings. The relief that
comes from self expression is palpable."
In a study 2 published in The Oncologist in 2008, Morgan and her colleagues found that
patients reported feeling better after completing an expressive writing exercise.
"Post surveys and subsequent interviews identified a significant correlation between those
who felt the writing changed the way they thought about cancer and improved physical
quality of life," Morgan said.
Amy Marash was referred to Morgan after telling her onocologist she wanted to draw
cartoons to share information with other cancer patients. Morgan gave her a sketchbook, and
Marash began drawing the cartoons with ballpoint pens, adding color with markers, and then
uploading her work to her blog, Cancer Is So Funny 3, after perfecting the sketches in
"People love my cartoons," Marash said. "They say my stuff is 'wicked funny' and that they
laugh out loud. Some of these people lost someone they love to cancer. One of my biggest
fans lost his father and his brother to the same disease. Others are fighting cancer and share
my comic strip with their cancer buddies. So far, no one has said that my strip upset a cancer
patient, and I hope it never does."
Daria Maluta, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000, writes the blog Living with
Cancer 4. She had recurrences in 2004 and 2008 and is currently receiving chemotherapy.
"The blogging community offers a place for people with cancer to connect, share stories, and
offer each other encouragement," Maluta said. "Through blogging, I have learned an
enormous amount, not only about cancer and its treatment, but also about how others deal
with their illness. I believe it's made me a stronger person."
Carolyn Langlie-Lesnik, a registered nurse from Indiana, was diagnosed with appendix
cancer in March 2001 and was once told her cancer was untreatable. Her blog, Appendix
Cancer Survivor's Blog 5, "is devoted to sharing what has been the more difficult part of the
journey for me," she said. "The emotional and spiritual road I've traveled as a rare cancer
Langlie-Lesnik hopes her blog provides appendix cancer patients a place to vent and gives
them information via useful links and other survivor stories.
"I truly needed to find purpose in my survival, to find a way to 'pay forward' all of the help I
received," Langlie-Lesnick said. "I hope my blog serves a purpose of helping others know
they are not alone in their struggle; ours is a rare and lonely cancer. I've met several people
I've come to admire via my blog, though many have lost their battle."
Silberman has a large group of followers and is linked to her hometown newspaper's Web
site, The Sacramento Bee.
"I do see that a lot of people find my blog using a Google search term and then read it from
start to finish, which is amazing," Silberman said. "It tells me people really want to know
what may happen to them."
Both Silberman and Langlie-Lesnick were familiar with blogging before starting their cancer
blogs. Langlie-Lesnick started an educational Web site, Appendix Cancer Connection 6, 5 or
6 years ago prior to publishing her blog. Silberman said she had previously blogged on other
topics and was familiar with the tools. Maluta follows over 200 other cancer blogs. Marash
blogged for The Digital Journalist before starting her own blog.
Each of the women has developed a community with her readers. "There are times the
disease or treatment gets me down," Maluta said. "I blog about how I'm feeling and/or what
I am experiencing, and before you know it, someone is sending me an encouraging comment
or e-mail. These few words of encouragement really lift my spirits. To be honest, I don't
know where I'd be without my blogging family."
Table of Links