Guest Post by Alene Nitzky
Cancer Harbors™ introduces an interactive online service designed to meet the needs of people who have recently completed cancer treatment. The low-cost program is ideally designed for the needs of early stage breast cancer survivors, but those with other types and stages of cancer will benefit from nearly all of the materials.
Features & Services
Cancer Harbors includes downloadable, illustrated, video-enhanced content, Q & A support through an online moderated discussion forum, access to a library of instructional exercise videos, regular updates of materials based on latest scientific recommendations, interactive group videoconferencing opportunities with a knowledgeable cancer health coach, and classes for people in rural areas, or for those who might wish to work out in the privacy of their home.
If the user desires more personalization, they can purchase as much additional private health coaching as they want, without a long-term contract, to get their individual issues and questions addressed promptly in a secure, private setting.
Content & Topics addressed
The content covers physical, cognitive, social, emotional, and spiritual issues around cancer treatment recovery. The seventy-plus topics include guidance and support in taking specific actions to immediately address: weight control & nutritional concerns, physical activity and exercise, sexuality, functional & appearance changes, self-confidence & body image, recognizing, acknowledging and addressing depression and anxiety, coping with menopausal or anti-hormonal therapy-induced symptoms, improving health literacy and health media literacy in regards to reducing risk of cancer recurrence, self-advocacy in follow-up healthcare, assertiveness in facing difficult relationships around cancer and after treatment, engaging in restorative leisure and learning activities, creating healthier surroundings in home, work, and play spaces, and building social media skills.
Materials & Ease of Use
Cancer Harbors is easy to use and does not require technical skills beyond clicking on links and using email. Illustrated, video-enhanced materials and features are accessible on demand and across devices. It’s self-paced with small bundles of information presented monthly. Materials will be helpful not only to the survivor but also to their caregivers, family members, or close friends.
Future plans include reaching international audiences, expanding the content offerings, and offering more interactive capabilities such as online classes. Content will be available in the near future for young people’s needs, fertility concerns, genetic counseling and testing, and to address the needs of people with metastatic disease.
Cost-effective & Affordable
Starting at $17 US monthly or under $200 annually Cancer Harbors can be purchased one month at a time with a year commitment, or a whole year at a time. It can also be given as a gift. While a private cancer coach can cost $150 an hour or more, the group videoconference setting provides an opportunity to offer face-to-face interaction at lower cost and excellent quality.
Benefits & Solutions
The Cancer Harbors user benefits from less anxiety about recurrence, assistance with weight loss and improved physical fitness to reduce risk of recurrence, and improved quality of life. Physical, mental, and social activity-focused interventions help the user feel better, have more energy, move forward with recovery, and cope more effectively with ongoing symptoms such as joint pain, cognitive dysfunction, and neuropathy. These problems often surface in the first months to a year after treatment but can persist longer or worsen if unaddressed.
The service solves or improves the above-mentioned issues faced by cancer survivors for which they often feel frustrated in their efforts to get help. It encourages, yet goes beyond, adherence to follow-up screening and medical recommendations. Cancer Harbors supports the person who wants to take their life back from being a cancer patient, and return to living life to the fullest.
The online materials are regularly updated based on the latest scientific findings and recommendations. The interactive capabilities allow the user face-to-face interaction with a coach through group videoconferencing, and the Q & A forum allows them to see that others share their concerns, and interact with each other as well as the moderator. Cancer Harbors listens to the users’ feedback to expand and improve on our offerings, interactive features, and video content to accommodate user demand and expressed needs. The user can easily interact with us via brief feedback surveys or emails. It can be used on-demand, in the privacy of your home or wherever it’s convenient, and saves the time and expense of waiting rooms and traveling.
Cancer Harbors goes beyond the current state of practice in survivorship care planning, which is limited in its ability to address the ongoing issues faced by cancer survivors. It complements the physician generated plan for follow-up screenings, but goes beyond disease, because medicalizing survivorship doesn’t facilitate transitioning from being a patient back to being who you are as a person, with a life.
Alene Nitzky, Ph.D, RN, OCN is a health coach, cancer exercise trainer, and CEO & Founder of Sunspirit Wellness Services. She started Cancer Harbors™ after her oncology nursing experience and immediate family members’ cancer experiences opened her eyes to the needs for post-treatment and ongoing support for people with cancer of all types and stages. She teaches FIERCE, an active support class for cancer survivors in her hometown of Fort Collins, Colorado. She is an ultramarathon runner, serial blogger, nurse advocate, and pastel artist. Follow her on Twitter: @AleneGoneBad or connect on LinkedIn. You may also contact her directly by email: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org