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A cancer diagnosis can generate an avalanche of questions: What are my options? How do I choose which treatments to pursue? How much will it cost? What sort of follow-up care will I need, and what happens if the cancer comes back?
For answers, many patients and caregivers tend to turn to the internet, where it’s easy to get overwhelmed by pages and pages of search results. That’s why Janssen Oncology, part of the Johnson & Johnson family of companies, just launched Cancer.com—a one-stop digital destination that can help guide people through many of the decisions they’ll have to make along the way.
"We envision a future where cancer becomes a chronic, curable and even preventable disease," says Tom Cavanaugh, President, Janssen Oncology. "This involves bringing scientific advancements to market, but it’s equally important to bring forward other solutions—like Cancer.com. The comprehensive resource is the result of hard work and collaboration across our organization and with three advocacy partners—Cancer Support Community (CSC), CancerCare and the American Cancer Society (ACS)—so we can meet the unique information needs of today’s patients and those who care for them.”
On this World Cancer Day, we're taking you on a tour of the groundbreaking website, which even features a personalized digital health coaching tool specially developed by behavioral scientists at Johnson & Johnson to help patients cope with everything from side effects of treatment to stress and anxiety.
“We launched the site with a core group of tumor types where Janssen has expertise, like multiple myeloma, but our mission with Cancer.com is to educate, motivate and empower all cancer patients along their journey,” says , Senior Director, Oncology Franchise Strategy at Janssen Oncology.
Click on any of the cancer categories and you'll find a rich trove of information, ranging from basic primers to the latest research on how lifestyle and other factors can come into play when treating the disease.
Head to the breast cancer section of the site, for example, and you can read about the different available treatments, including radiation and chemotherapy. You can also review a helpful list of specific questions to ask your doctor: Is my tumor invasive or noninvasive? What is my hormone receptor status? What is my recommended treatment plan? Is there a clinical trial in which I can participate and would it be covered by insurance?
Visit the prostate cancer section, and you'll find information on following PSA levels, as well as up-to-date news on the link between diet and cancer—the site includes a study in which men with untreated cancer confined to the prostate gland experienced a lower rate of prostate cell growth when they switched to a vegetarian diet.
“The tool offers guidance on how people can make achievable behavior changes, empowering them to take an active role in their health,” says Nicole Brainard, Manager, Behavior Science, Johnson & Johnson.
How it works: You create a profile by filling in basic information (name, age, tumor type and stage in your cancer journey), and then you can tailor it by answering a series of questions on topics of particular interest, such as how to maintain a healthy lifestyle after a diagnosis. My Care Activator will then suggest action steps and provide multimedia resources based on your unique goals, challenges and needs.
For example, a patient who expresses an interest in help with managing anxiety might receive a set of evidence-based mindfulness exercises to try. Someone whose top priority is improving communications with healthcare providers, on the other hand, might get tips on reflective listening techniques, making appointment checklists and organizing medical records.
By simply entering your cancer type and zip code into the Advocacy Connector tool, you can obtain a comprehensive list of nearby organizations that provide a range of support services, including financial assistance, spiritual support, transportation services and information on clinical trials—all within your geographic radius.
For example, a caregiver could use the Advocacy Connector tool to find a local CSC affiliate or a nearby Gilda’s Club, which offers support groups, healthy lifestyle workshops, mind-body classes and educational lectures.
“We’re proud to be part of this collaborative effort,” says Hildy Dillon, Vice President of Education & Support Services at CSC. “Janssen, CancerCare and ACS all share our mission that no one should ever have to face cancer alone."
For example, CSC has a series of videos on Cancer.com, including one in which an oncologist explains the benefits of participating in clinical trials.
Cancer.com also links out to resources offered by its partners, like a CSC decision support tool called Open to Options®. The specialist-led, one-hour counseling session helps patients develop a list of questions and concerns to discuss with their physician when exploring treatment options.
Similarly, the site links out to CancerCare's Connect Education Workshops, led by leading oncology experts, that you can access over the telephone or online.
“Janssen really accessed the gold standard of health information in building Cancer.com,” says Ellen Miller-Sonet, Chief Strategy and Alliance Officer at CancerCare. “And they're very committed to making sure the site continues to evolve in ways that meet patient needs."
“Janssen Oncology is striving to achieve victories over cancer,” adds Amendola. “Those victories will come not just through great products, but also resources like Cancer.com.”