Social networking site aimed at linking cancer sufferers

A GLOBAL social networking site for cancer patients, set to go live in two weeks, has earned the praise of Mackay nurses.

Mackay Base Hospital clinical nurse consultant for cancer services Heather Skien said the site was a "great" initiative for patients to use during and after their treatment. (Note: site not yet functional)

The site is set up like Facebook with sections for users to organise and manage their treatment plan, research doctors and healthy eating tips and create a cancer support network.

Ms Skien said she'd noticed more patients "going online" in the last few years.

"Even the older ones are getting family members to teach them how to use the internet," she said.

"It starts with them getting online to see the outcome of their diagnosis, which isn't always good, and it leads to other sites, like forums."

A support network was vital for cancer sufferers, Ms Skien said.

"Once you hear that you have cancer you don't remember anything else," she said. "You really need people around to support you."

Ms Skien said parents of young children with cancer were now using online networking sites to connect with their doctors in Brisbane.

"I've spoken to mums of kids who go to Camp Quality and most of their doctors are in Brisbane, which is where they have their main treatment. It's great that they can use this modern technology to connect with their doctors so easily."

Social networking sites like and the Cancer Council's Cancer Connections were important "therapeutic" tools for patients, Ms Skien said.

"It can be really therapeutic to speak with someone going through the same thing," she said.

"As you have treatment you're in regular contact with nurses and doctors but once you finish, that's gone and you feel like you're lost.

"Having a support group at that time is invaluable.

"Some of the drugs keep patients awake, it's just a side effect, so having a networking site you can go to in the middle of the night when you always seem to have questions is great."

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