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New cancer support website shares stories of hope, success and triumph

Credit: South West Regional Cancer Program

The South West Regional Cancer Program launched a new website on October 11 for patients to share stories.

Agnes Chick | Interrobang | News | October 22nd, 2012

With an estimate of 5,700 new cancer cases expected in Southern Ontario this year, the South West Regional Cancer Program in London launched a new website on October 11 that offers both informational and inspirational stories to support patients throughout their cancer journey.

The cancer program oversees the quality and delivery of cancer services in the counties of Grey, Bruce, Huron, Perth, Middlesex, Oxford, Elgin, and part of Norfolk. Created by Cancer Care Ontario in 2005, it is one of 13 programs working to ensure cancer care is delivered according to province-wide quality standards.

Neil Johnson, Regional Vice President for the program, is very pleased with the new site. "We are thrilled to have the opportunity to launch our new and dynamic website, which will greatly benefit patients and their families."

The site provides patients and caregivers with easy navigation to find information and updates on programs by health care providers in the South West region.

Melissa Beilhartz, Publicity and Marketing Specialist for the program, highlighted the importance of story-telling on the website. "The website provides us the opportunity to share our stories online," said Beilhartz. "Whether we're sharing tips on how to prevent cancer or learning from others' experiences, the website is the tool for us to share what we are doing to benefit patients and their families in the region."

Some of the stories share individual experiences and describe the benefits of different treatments to other patients. There are also informational pieces on everything from Breast Cancer screenings to the importance of cancer nurses, to the new Pap test guidelines. This week's feature focuses on Cervical Cancer Awareness Week and details the story of a woman named Alice, who was diagnosed with cervical cancer as the result of a routine Pap test.

Beilhartz pointed out that the stories posted on the website tie the patient experience to educational information for readers. "The cervical feature not only tells the story of Alice, but also informs women in the region of why they should get Pap tests at the appropriate time, and includes a link to more information."

The website also hosts an intranet site; a hub of health information, document forms and educational resources for health care providers. "It's a space where providers can access information at their fingertips and share documents with others providing cancer care in our region," explained Beilhartz.

One of the website's exciting features is that it was built using "responsive design" which automatically resizes text and changes the navigation for better usability on different sized screens, including desktop monitors, cell and smart phones and tablets. The site reconfigures itself depending on the electronic device, so that users can access information in the most optimal way.

More information can be found at:
Twitter: @sw_cancer
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