Poster Presentation Clinical Oncology Society of Australia Annual Scientific Meeting 2017

Utilising digital innovation to empower people affected by cancer (#376)

Annette Beattie 1 , Kate Fenerty 1 , Amy Howard 1 , Alison Chance 1
  1. Cancer Council NSW, Woolloomooloo, NSW, Australia


Formally known as Cancer Connections, the Cancer Council Online Community (OC) was launched in 2009 to meet the growing need for online support of those impacted by cancer. The site was relaunched in November 2016 on a new platform, designed with accessibility and responsiveness in mind. 


The OC aims to reduce isolation by encouraging people affected by cancer to use the platform as a safe place to share experiences and stories with others in similar situations. Research shows the provision of online information to people affected by cancer helps them to gain control, reduce anxiety, improve compliance, create realistic expectations, promote self-care and generate feelings of safety and security.


The OC is an online destination providing all Australians affected by cancer with a safe and supportive place to share their cancer experience with others in similar circumstances. Through blogs, discussion forums and internet support groups, members can discuss their experiences and share stories, tips and coping strategies to help normalise concerns and reduce social isolation. OC is moderated by Cancer Council staff to ensure relevance and accuracy of information


We are  seeing positive steady growth in traffic and memberships. On average, monthly visits are approximately 15000 with memberships over 5000.


Through the OC, cancer information and peer support is available at any time or place that the community member needs it, complementing community resources that are limited to business days and business hours. Members can access a support network regardless of their postcode or their access to health professionals. The OC platform is fully functional across different browsers, computers and devices. Long term vision includes personalised experiences through dynamic content or customisation, with virtual key note speakers and seminars. The OC is an integrated Cancer Council initiative, ensuring a community centric approach to cancer support.