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MyBreastCancerTeam launches as a place for women with breast cancer to connect
One out of every eight women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. That number is both shocking and infuriating. And yet, so many women facing the enormity of a breast cancer diagnosis have to navigate the channels on their own. Unfortunately, HIPAA regulations prevent hospitals from introducing patients to one another, so if you are a 35-year-old woman who has just been diagnosed with stage two breast cancer, you can’t ask to meet other patients who are dealing with the same thing. But a recent study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that a full 23% of Internet users suffering from chronic conditions have gone online to connect with other people who have experienced the same health issues.
Now there’s a new social network just for women facing breast cancer. MyHealthTeams, the group that brought you MyAutismTeam last year, announced Tuesday the launch of its newest property, MyBreastCancerTeam (MyBCTeam).
Like MyAutismTeam, MyBCTeam allows users to connect with other patients as well as providers. Members can find oncologists, surgeons, breast care navigators, and patient coordinators, as well as care providers people don’t normally think of, like nutritionists, massage therapists, personal trainers, places to get good mastectomy bras, and so on.
But the ability to connect with other patients is clearly the focal point of MyBCTeam. The site is open to any and all women who are dealing with breast cancer, whether they are newly diagnosed or several years out of treatment. Users can search for other women based on location, age, stage, and the type of diagnosis, such as Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS) or Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. This—in my opinion—is the coolest part of the site, since no two women diagnosed with breast cancer are going to be exactly alike. The ability to connect with other women of your age, diagnosis, location, and other life circumstances allows for so much more of a personal experience than a message board or forum with anonymous screen names.
It’s an interesting departure from MyAutismTeam, which is open to anyone who knows someone with autism. But obviously, the two conditions—autism and breast cancer—are very different and the people dealing with them have very different needs. How did MyHealthTeams figure out what those needs were and how to meet them?
“We started by interviewing dozens of women who have gone through breast cancer and learning from their experiences of what worked, what didn't work, and what resources they wished they'd had when going through treatment,” said CEO and co-founder Eric Peacock. “Next, we spent a lot of time meeting with women going through treatment right now and getting their feedback on the design and functioning of the site. We've had over 1,000 women on MyBCTeam from all around the country for the past two months using the site and providing feedback to us. We release a new version of the site every week based on their feedback.”
The women on the site share everything from tips for keeping energy levels up during chemo, to the foods and drinks that are manageable during treatment, to how they navigated the roads of reconstructive surgical options, and more.
The site’s design was also influenced by doctors, breast care navigators, and nurse coordinators. “Those nurse navigators are the unsung heroes of the health care system when it comes to breast cancer,” said Peacock.
MyHealthTeams is quickly becoming a critical resource for people suffering with chronic conditions. Since the beta launch of MyAutismTeam in June 2011, the site has grown from 30 families in California to nearly 30,000 parents today. With two million women living with breast cancer in the U.S. and a new one being diagnosed every three minutes, MyBCTeam is sure to meet a very real need.
Image sources: MyBCTeam.com
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MyHealthTeams is a San Francisco-based company building deeply engaging social networks for people facing chronic health conditions in the U.S. Combining the social elements of a Facebook with the hyper-local recommendations of a Yelp, MyHealthTeams makes it easy for consumers to:
- Easily find local providers and businesses who can best help them.
- Quickly find and connect with a network of other people who understand what they face daily because they have been in their shoes.
MyHealthTeams’ flagship site, MyAutismTeam is officially launching in December 2011.
MyHealthTeams is filling a void for nearly 150MM people in the U.S. suffering from chronic health conditions who need to find the best local providers and connect with a network of others who have been in their shoes.
When you or a loved one are diagnosed with a chronic condition or disease, many people find it’s not easy to find local resources that can best help you. If you ask anyone impacted by autism, breast cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, infertility, or other chronic conditions, they will describe it as a “painfully frustrating” experience that is “lonely” and similar to “reinventing the wheel.”
Many turn online for help but most health content on the web today focuses on everything except for the social and local aspects – the part where a person actually takes action to tackle their condition. Through a strong technology platform, MyHealthTeams answers this unmet need by creating specific social networks for those who have a chronic condition and need a safe place to openly share their own experiences and resources.
What is MyAutismTeam? What does MyAutismTeam do?
MyAutismTeam is the flagship site from MyHealthTeams providing a social network for parents and families of people with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Launching in December 2011, it is the first social network designed specifically for parents of children with autism, enabling them to connect with each other, openly discuss issues, share their own experiences, recommend providers, resources and other services to address the needs of their loved ones with autism.
Members can engage on the social media platform by posting updates and comments, providing recommendations of providers and local businesses based on personal experience, by answering questions posted by their team members and others in the network.
MyAutismTeam offers a way for consumers to:
- Find and share the best health practitioners and other service providers and businesses (from dentists and therapists, to autism-friendly businesses like barbers, babysitters, etc.) that especially cater to autism needs (marked by “autism-yes”) – on a hyper local level.
- Interact and exchange stories and ideas on helping their children and loved ones thrive with ASD.
- Connect with other people in a safe and welcoming network of people like them.
For businesses and providers, MyAutismTeam is a great way to connect with a network of passionate parents who make the major health decisions for households.