According to the American Cancer Society, men in the U.S. have slightly less than 1 in 2 lifetime risks of having cancer, while women have a little more than 1 in 3 chances of doing so. So basically, flip a coin… Certainily, the risk of developing some forms of cancer can be reduced by avoiding cigarettes and heavy alcohol drinking, wearing sun screen, and so on. Others, unfortunately cannot. Doug Ulman, the CEO for Livestrong, shared a view into the efforts being done by this great organization as well as ways interactive contributes to help fight cancer. At the risk of missing some, here are some of the main contributions of interactive/digital to help people affected with cancer in some way.
Awareness – Many people do not know what the warning signs or early-detection exams are or how to perform these. Digital provides a great way of communicating these and answering any FAQs people may have. Remember that early detection makes a huge difference on how successful treatment is, so making people aware of these resources is crucial.
Education and Available Resources – In some parts of the world and in the United States even, some people still believe cancer is contagious. Others fear they will be stigmatized or discriminated against if others know they have cancer. Because nowadays we can find everything on the internet and not need to go to the library or book store to look for information about cancer, digital offers a remarkable medium to educate people not only about the non-contagious nature of cancer, byt also about forms to prevent it, early detect it, treat it, and get all the help available to them from government or other organizations, such as Livestrong.
Lobbying – One of the great fights of Livestrong and similar organization is against tobacco companies and other supporters of deregulatory legislation that favors the spread of cancer causing substances, such as tobacco. When these issues are brought to popular vote, either directly or indirectly, we can utilize digital means to communicate with the voters and provide them with the information they need to cast an informed and responsible vote, or even to be motivated to vote at all. Facebook, for example, can target ads to a specific zip code to reach all the voters within a specific district.
Fundraising and Getting People Involved – Doing research, finding treatments, carrying out awareness campaigns, lobbying for or against initiatives related to cancer, educating people, helping people who currently have cancer.. all of these require funding. Digital makes it easy for people to tweet, share, post, make a video of, etc.. of virtually anything. This is an excellent opportunity to utilize technology to get people to pitch into the fight of cancer, from online donations, to volunteering for an event such as the Livestrong Challenge or signing up to take your neighbor every week to their radiation therapy. Another great example of this is the Nike Fuel Band Missions App, which would require a full blog post to describe, but which you can access at this link: http://bit.ly/wnW6ih
Supporting your loved ones and let them know you care. A simple posting on facebook, a text message, an e-card, a loving tweet… all of these can be utilized to communicate with someone affected by cancer and make them feel your support.
Websites, mobile apps, facebook, twitter, YouTube … all of these are great cancer fighting tools, we just need to know how to use them to fight against cancer.