A new Facebook app, Circle of Support, provides a rare support community for people living with metastatic breast cancer (MBC).
This secure Facebook community allows people suffering from MBC to share their struggles and receive support from their friends and family. Recent research by Genentech, the company that created the app, shows many MBC patients feel their needs are not met and others around them do not understand what they are experiencing.
“The Facebook app was designed as a part of this overarching program to provide additional support for people with MBC,” Susan Willson, a spokeswoman for Genentech told Mashable. “As a company, we felt there was more we could be doing outside of the lab to support people with the disease. We wanted to match the innovation inside the lab with innovation outside of the lab.”
With the new Facebook app, an individual living with MBC can select Facebook friends who they would like to invite to join their support network. The patient can chose suggested support activity ideas — such as weekly phone calls, movie outings, prepared meals or going for a manicure — that friends and family can see they are seeking and subsequently provide.
MBC, an advanced form of the disease with no cure, means the cancer has spread from the breasts to other parts of the body. Patients with MBC often do not relate to the movement behind the Pink Ribbon and Breast Cancer Awareness Month, because they have no shot at survival. More than 155,000 people in the U.S. are living with the aggressive cancer.
“It was an area that really needed a light shined on it,” Willson says. “The great survivor stories come from women living with a different experience.”
Genentech’s embrace of Facebook is unusual among pharmaceutical companies. Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca shut down their Facebook pages last year, when Facebook began requiring pharma brands to allow open comments. Others, such as Janssen UK’s Psoriasis 360 page, have shut down because they require too much maintenance.
Do you think Circles of Support taps an unmet need for patients with MBC?