When faced with a difficult diagnosis like breast cancer, the Internet is generally the first place women turn for information, resources, and support. While loved ones are of the utmost importance during a crisis, you can also easily reach out across a wide network of experts and peers around the globe to find educational tools from behind your computer screen. For more reasons than one, that’s also how Pink Lotus Power Up came about!
It’s very important to be mindful when using the Internet during your breast cancer journey. For women with breast cancer, the Internet can be an invaluable tool but also a risky minefield – yes, minefield. We’ll help you find ways to use the Internet to your benefit as you navigate your diagnosis, as well as decide what corners of the web might be best to avoid. Before we dig into the bad, let’s start with all the good reasons to use the web.
The Benefits of the Internet After Your Diagnosis
It’s important to gather every valuable resource you can in order to empower yourself with all the tools you need during your breast cancer journey. These are a few ways you can use the web to your advantage during a stressful time.
Read, Read, Read
Arming yourself with accurate information is one of the best things you can do for yourself as a breast cancer patient. Breast cancer research foundations, nonprofit advocacy organizations, scientific journals, and online clinical resources can all serve as powerful educational tools as you face breast cancer.
You can learn all about your specific kind of cancer, what to expect from treatment, how to manage symptoms physically and emotionally, and mental health resources online. Make sure to verify anything you read with your medical team.
Join a Support Group
There are many online breast cancer support groups to join, including our very own, Breast Buddies. There are also a wide range of support groups available for loved ones dealing with a spouse or family member’s breast cancer diagnosis. Many groups meet virtually at scheduled times, while others have active forums and Facebook groups where you can post questions, start discussions, and find emotional support. Pink Lotus Power Up also has a free service called Breast Groups, where you can create public or private groups about any breast related topic you want to discuss.
Find Medical Experts or Clinical Trials
When faced with a difficult diagnosis like breast cancer, it’s important to find the best care possible and to explore all possible avenues for treatment.
The Internet can be a great place to look for breast cancer-related clinical trials and experimental therapies, as well as holistic health practitioners, mental health professionals, and medical experts who can assist you as you undergo treatment. Start with breast cancer advocacy organizations, online platforms where you can sign up to participate in clinical trials, or databases of medical providers in your area that accept your insurance plan.
Link Up With Others in Your Area
If you’d prefer to meet up with other people navigating breast cancer in person, the Internet is a great place to start looking, be it via our free Breast Buddies platform, Facebook, or other means. You can find dozens of in-person support groups in your area through databases at breast cancer advocacy and research organizations, as well as on meetup sites. There are also local groups that meet in person to exercise and plan your nutritional goals to promote your overall wellness during your breast cancer journey.
The Downsides of the Internet During Your Breast Cancer Journey
Although Internet support groups and educational resources can be a major help as you strive to understand and navigate breast cancer, there are quite a few downsides. Here are some things you must consider in order to stay emotionally safe when using the web after your diagnosis.
Only You Know What’s Best For You
When you immerse yourself in the breast cancer patient/survivor community online, it can be profoundly healing. However, it can often get overwhelming to find so much information at one time. No matter how knowledgeable someone may seem, or how helpful an educational resource might be, your situation is likely very unique, and not every piece of advice is going to apply to your medical conditions.
Every diagnosis is different, and only you and your medical team truly understand what that situation is. Know what is best for your treatment plan, symptom management, and recovery in conjunction with the medical professionals who have the pertinent details about your diagnosis. Make sure to treat any advice you get online as a resource only, and ask your providers about anything you learn on the Internet.
Keep a Healthy Distance
Social networks can play a big role with a new breast cancer diagnosis. Many women form strong connections on social media and allow friendships to blossom – a beautiful thing. However, it’s important not to get so emotionally embroiled in online relationships that it becomes overwhelming. Keep a healthy distance.
The Internet can be addictive. In the throes of a stressful situation like a breast cancer diagnosis, it can be even more so. Take regular time to unplug, and spend time with your loved ones offline.