Cancer Support Finally Catches Up with the Social Networking Age with IHadCancer.com

While there are countless websites devoted to cancer education, fundraising and advocacy, finding practical information about living with cancer and making connections online can be difficult. With the launch of www.IHadCancer.com, cancer fighters, survivors and supporters can now tap the full power of social networking to connect with others who have been in their shoes.

Those shared experiences can be powerful – and essential – sources of hope, support and information.  A recent Pew Internet & American Life study found that while people turn to professionals for an accurate health diagnosis, they’re more likely to turn to nonprofessionals (50 percent to 30 percent) when they’re searching for emotional support.  Moreover, older Americans – those most likely to get cancer, according to the American Cancer Society – were almost twice as likely to use social networking sites in 2010 as they were the year before, Princeton Survey Research Associates International found.

But cancer strikes people of all ages, including IHadCancer.com founder Mailet Lopez who was 33 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008.  At the time, the co-founder of New York’s Squeaky Wheel Media found herself overwhelmed and in need of talking with someone who had been in her situation.

“I had wonderful doctors and plenty of support from family and friends.  But I was missing the connection to someone who shared my same experiences – someone who was my age, with my type of cancer … even someone who lived in my neighborhood,” Lopez said.  “I had questions that only someone who has gone through cancer would be able to answer … questions like “how do I tell the people I work with” or “what are the best ways to keep my energy up and stress down.”

IHadCancer.com uses the most advanced social networking functionalities supported by usability standards people have come to expect with online experiences.  Users will be able to create a profile, share their story, build a circle of friends, participate in discussions – and even send cancer a message via the “Dear Cancer” tab.  Additional functionality will soon allow members to promote cancer-related events and fundraisers, and give nonprofit organizations ways to share their resources.  Site members will have the opportunity to recommend additional enhancements.

While the name IHadCancer.com intentionally draws on Lopez’s focus on hope and a positive attitude, the site can be a resource for those who serve as caregivers to people diagnosed with the disease, as well.  “Four in 10 Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes.  When you add to that number all of the friends, family and other people who surround those battling the disease you quickly realize that almost everyone has a story to share,” she added.

Share your story at www.IHadCancer.com.

Visit our newsroom at ihadcancer.com/newsroom.