How their app helps cancer patients and their caregivers

When Denise Albert was diagnosed with cancer, doctors gave her some advice.

“Don’t Google anything.”

The divorced mother of two young boys says she felt scared and alone, with nowhere to turn. “I didn’t know anyone else who had cancer at 41.” At the time, she was working in media and chose to share her story publicly. “What happened was truly incredible. People from across the country began to offer us their love, support and wisdom from their own cancer experiences. Hearing people share things like, “If your nose is running all the time, maybe it’s because your nose hairs are falling out from the treatment,” or learning tips to keep your nails from falling out, made me helped me feel like I had support. system. It really moved me and made me want to do the same for others,” she says.

How she created a big cancer family

Another thing that happened after Albert shared her story was that people started connecting her with their friends and family who had been diagnosed with cancer. “I started talking to people every week and organically formed my own cancer family.”

This concept evolved into what My cancer family is today a mission-driven company to help cancer patients, their caregivers, family and friends navigate the confusing, complex and emotional journey of cancer. “We help with everything non-medical with resources and advice curated in 12 categories, including mental health and nutrition, talking with children, keeping a job, cancer tips , relationships, non-profit organizations that offer free help and services and much more.”

Currently, My Cancer Family reaches people through a application, website and newsletter. “When I met my co-founder, Colleen Sellers, her background was completely different from mine. She has worked in healthcare and startup technology and together we had another ah-ha moment about how to develop our vision. We launched a newsletter in July 2022 and it’s been really amazing to share other people’s stories, tips, and favorite nonprofits.

Sellers introduced Albert to Avani Agarwal who was originally going to help her design, but when they saw what she could actually do, it was another ah-ha moment. “Avani’s experience in technology design and strategy made her the perfect person to join us. The three of us worked together to create our MVP product, the My Cancer Family app which was just released on the App Store.

How the app works

Albert says this version of the app has some special features and more are in the works.

One feature is called Daily Check-In. “This tracks the daily mood and symptoms of the patient and caregiver – even for a caregiver, your feelings matter! During this trip, it is important to keep track of your daily mood. This helps differentiate between highs and lows, keeps everything in context, and sees the forest through the trees.

Another feature allows users to select all the ways My Cancer Family can support them. “That included content and videos,” says Albert. “Each person, whether a traveler, a caregiver or a friend, experiences the app differently. We’ve heard from our users and ranked our content based on some of the most meaningful topics listed below and we continue to add new content every day. Most of the videos are original content provided by people who have experienced them.

One of Albert’s favorite features is called Ask for Help. “A lot of times when friends and family offer to help, people nod or say thank you, but it’s very difficult to get the words across…to really share exactly what they need. The My Cancer Family app makes it super easy to receive the help you need when and where you need it. Some of the ways the app allows the patient or their caregiver to ask friends and family for help include: trips to treatment, food delivery, dog/pet walking, helps with the kids and grocery shopping. “So now when someone asks how they can help you, you can respond with ‘I’ll text you’ from My Cancer Family. A text is shared on behalf of the patient and caregiver that specifies time preferences and frequency of needs.”

Expansion plans

My Cancer Family reaches people in more than 30 countries and the team hopes to reach more. “We want people to download the app and share it with friends, family or colleagues who might need this type of support. There are only three of us at the moment, so we’re building slowly and want to hear from people who can help us by sharing their wisdom, experiences, and favorite nonprofits and products.

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