A brand new social network is hoping to help women who have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer connect with other women who either have or have survived the disease. MyBreastCancerTeam, whose co-founder, Mary Ray, brought us the networking site MyAutismTeam especially for parents with children somewhere on the autism spectrum, allows users to share their stories, check in on each other's daily progress, and connect with women who are relative peers and are at a similar stage in their cancer treatment.
The network may offer an alternative to cancer support groups, which are often, as Chuck Palahniuk has told us, infiltrated by tourists looking to quell their insomnia. According to Ray, though support groups certainly have helped many women cope with a breast cancer diagnosis, such groups may not be the most efficient ways to meet people of a similar age who are at a similar stage in their treatment. "A 30-year-old might go to a support group with a 65-year-old who isn't having kids and is postmenopausal," Ray told CBS News. "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?"
Considering how awful people can be to each other on the internet and how the internet saps our ability to pick up on nonverbal conversational cues, a social networking site might not completely replace the experience of meeting another cancer patient, face to face. However, MyBreastCancerTeam does offer users a boatload of extremely helpful information, such a "Diagnosis and Treatments" tab that opens on a particular user's profile to show others information on the type of treatment she's received and the health care providers she's visited. Of course, this frank exchange of information only works if everyone's sharing, but, says Ray, that's the goal: "The more you share, the more you're trusted in the community."
The site also features a Pinboard that lets users share pictures of the different scarves users wear, for instance, when they lose their hair during treatment, as well as favorite books, movies, kinds of gum, trading cards, or whatever other personal minutiae that people need to offer one another to bridge the divide.