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When my dad was diagnosed with cancer several years ago, it quickly became apparent to my family what a lonely diagnosis cancer is. People mean well, but the only way they can truly understand is if they’ve been there themselves—and Belong has thousands of users who have.
Belong is free and easy to navigate. With over 100,000 users, it’s the world’s largest social network for cancer patients. The community support found in the various groups is unparalleled; patients can have a daily back-and-forth dialogue about their struggles and triumphs. Cancer is a long and difficult road, but thanks to Belong, you don’t have to walk it alone.
And it’s easy to find someone who understands your specific situation: upon joining the app, you’ll be prompted to select a type of cancer. The list of options includes everything from bone cancer to leukemia to uterine cancer, and more. (Subtypes are included, too: for instance, you can choose metastatic breast cancer with a subtype of inflammatory breast cancer.)
After you get set up with the specifics, you can join the families—or community groups—that are best suited to you. For instance, try joining “Side Effects and Symptoms: A Community Family for Questions About Breast Cancer,” “US Cancer Community,” or “Empowered & Informed.” These groups have threads on topics such as side effects from medicines; it’s a safe place to discuss any questions you may run across as you go through your treatment.
Personalizing the threads will ensure the people you connect with know what you’re going through, because they’re experiencing the exact same thing. On Belong, you can connect with people who know what it’s like. They’re also experiencing side effects from the medicine they’re taking, or struggling to pay medical bills, or looking for hope and spiritual guidance.
There aren’t many downfalls to the community groups on Belong. You may want to turn off notifications because the conversations are so frequent. But then again, the notifications serve as a constant reminder that you aren’t alone.