WASHINGTON, D.C., June 14, 2011
- The Cancer Support Community (CSC) -- an international non-profit dedicated to providing support, education and hope to people impacted by cancer -- today announced a free new service: CancerSupportSource™, an innovative mobile application providing cancer patients and their caregivers with a unique set of tools addressing their physical, social and emotional concerns related to living with cancer and its treatment. The app is available for download
via the iTunes Store (category: Medical).
By employing CancerSupportSource™, users can monitor their concerns over time; record thoughts and questions in a personal journal; access educational information and a community support network; and report progress to their health care team. Developed with support from Genentech, CancerSupportSource™ is available at no cost and is designed for use with the iPhone™ and iPod Touch™.
A critical element of CancerSupportSource™ is that it enables users to forge connections with those who are coping with similar issues. "This can be intrinsically healing and is a part of care and wellness management that is often overlooked," says Kim Thiboldeaux, president and CEO of the Cancer Support Community. "We want users to know that they don't have to face cancer alone - there is a whole community of support behind them." To aid this endeavor, the app allows the user to find a nearby CSC affiliate, join the organization's Online Community and access a variety of CSC's free support services. In addition, CancerSupportSource™ allows users to:
- Monitor common concerns such as fatigue, difficulty sleeping, sadness, anxiety and pain
- Track potential life worries, such as family, work, money and nutrition
- Record thoughts and questions in a personal journal
"The beauty of the CancerSupportSource™ is that users can access it anytime, anywhere," says Thiboldeaux. "It's available 24/7, 365 days a year."
Beta-Testing Phase Yields Useful Results
CancerSupportSource™ was beta-tested over the past six months and is now utilized by more than 550 people in 40 countries. "Trends in mobile technology indicate that the logical first step in introducing a new application is to build a groundswell of support," says Thiboldeaux. The beta-testing phase allowed CSC to gather valuable usability information and connect with specific users for feedback. "This test period has allowed us to refine the app so that it truly meets the psychosocial needs of people managing a cancer diagnosis," she reports.
The initial feedback is positive. "CancerSupportSource™ keeps me going in between the online support group I attend weekly through CSC's Online Community," says Ellen Dominguez, a nine-year ovarian cancer survivor.
Karin Diamond, currently battling Hodgkin's lymphoma, adds, "Overall, what I like most about the app is that it provides data and reference points for the user on side effects that are not given nearly enough attention. Whether it's an effect of chemo brain or the whirlwind of doctor appointments, treatment and blood work schedules, days can tend to meld into each other and symptoms and side effects are easily forgotten. I find myself using the app to create bullet points of medical issues to discuss. I love the fact that the support, reference material and the tracking of your own symptoms are right there at your fingertips."
Cancer Support Community's Use of Technology
According to a February 2011 survey by Cisco, a leading communications technology and services company, global mobile data traffic nearly tripled in 2010 and is expected to increase 26-fold between 2010 and 2015. Mobile data, cites the report, is well on its way to becoming a necessity. Says Thiboldeaux, "With the introduction of CancerSupportSource™, CSC continues to showcase its effective use of new technologies to communicate with and provide vital information to all people impacted by cancer." This is not new for the organization. CSC has long been a pioneer in the use of technology to support and educate people affected by cancer. The largest provider of professionally-facilitated, real-time and online cancer support groups, the organization has been offering these groups since 2002.
About the Cancer Support Community
Backed by evidence that the best cancer care includes emotional and social support, the Cancer Support Community offers these services to all people affected by cancer. Likely the largest professionally-led network of cancer support worldwide, the organization delivers a comprehensive menu of personalized and essential services. Because no cancer care plan is complete without emotional and social support, the Cancer Support Community has a vibrant network of community-based centers and online services run by trained and licensed professionals.
In July 2009, The Wellness Community and Gilda's Club Worldwide joined forces to become the Cancer Support Community. The combined organization provides high-quality psychological and social support through a network of nearly 50 local affiliates, more than 100 satellite locations and online. For more information, visit www.cancersupportcommunity.org