Survivors’ “Springboard Beyond Cancer”
How do you go on with life after you’ve been diagnosed with cancer? Do you just survive day by day—or do you live, really live? How do you set goals? How do you assert your role in managing your health care? A new web tool is helping cancer survivors take control of their life and health during and after treatment to reduce the impact of cancer and live well.
NIH’s National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the American Cancer Society (ACS) have collaborated to develop a free, mobile-friendly web tool, Springboard Beyond Cancer, to help empower cancer survivors to play a key role in managing their own health. The tool makes it easy for those in treatment and post-treatment to access essential information to help them manage ongoing cancer-related symptoms, deal with stress, improve healthy behaviors, communicate better with their health care team, and seek support from friends and family. Springboard Beyond Cancer also offers cancer survivors a platform to talk about their experiences and provide tips to those who are dealing with the same cancer treatments.
One of Springboard’s key resources is the Action Deck, an interactive collection of information to give people flexibility in tailoring symptoms and healthy lifestyle topics to fit their health needs and self-management priorities. This personalized information will help survivors stay on track with their goals and interact effectively with their health care providers. Individuals can build their own Action Deck or choose from a library of pre-selected topics.
“We don’t want to just provide resources. We want people to do something; to use it. We want to empower people to proactively take care of their health,” said Meredith Grady, a public health adviser who co-leads the NCI initiative with Dr. Erik Augustson, a program director at NCI.
“Your health care team is there to help you, but you are the expert of your own health,” said Corrine Leach, strategic director in the Behavioral Research Center at the ACS.
Every survivor will have a unique experience during and after treatment, but one thing is consistent: A network to support you in that journey is key. These are some of the stories that cancer survivors have shared:
- Angie, a breast cancer survivor who was diagnosed 15 years ago, talks about the tremendous fatigue she felt from her treatment, particularly from anti-nausea medication. Walking between her treatment and her tennis game helped build up her stamina.
- Montessa, who was diagnosed with lung cancer 10 years ago, said one of her biggest struggles was with fatigue. She urged other survivors to reach out for help when they need it. Her parents didn’t live nearby, so she reached out to her church, whose members volunteered to drive her to treatment appointments. “You can’t have pride in these moments. You have to reach out for help when you need it,” she said. Montessa also urged survivors not to just go through the motions of surviving. “There is life out there,” she said, “and they need to get out there and experience it.”
- Jamie, a melanoma survivor, said to expect the unexpected and hold on to hope. “Don’t lose hope. Hang on to it with all you have,” Jamie said. “You can do a lot more than you ever thought you could.”
Visit Springboard Beyond Cancer and check out the online and social media resources available as part of this new tool to engage cancer survivors as active partners with their health care team in managing the impact of cancer on their lives.
Post your stories of living beyond cancer to Pinterest using the hashtag #BeyondCancer, and your pin may be featured on Springboard’s community board.
It’s more than a tool. “Springboard Beyond Cancer” is a support system for cancer survivors. http://go.usa.gov/x9HdW via @HHSGov
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