I found it a little difficult to decide where to go next with tackling our cancer resource list. So far I have presented the two “mega-cancer” sites – the American Cancer Society and the National Institute of Cancer. I thought I should diverge a bit to look at a different group of sites. So I’ll start with breast cancer. No surprisingly with over 30 sites, it is one of the largest site-specific categories. Today we’ll review the sites of four different breast cancer organizations. (photo – Deena Metzger)
Susan G. Komen for the Cure
Susan G. Komen for the Cure seems a good place to begin as it has become perhaps the most visible and vocal organizations dedicated to the fight against breast cancer. It is clear from the home page that it is primarily an advocacy and fundraising group. And with multi-shades of pink graphics the focus of the site cannot be mistaken. Four buttons in the left header allow quick navigation depending on whether you identify yourself as a patient, friend of someone with breast cancer, someone wanting to donate or be an advocate, or someone who just wants to share their story.
Just under the header is a traditional menu with drop-down selections. The first is entitled “Understanding Breast Cancer” with content that rivals that of ACS and NCI. In fact the use of illustrations propels it beyond those two sites. Besides the expected “Diagnosis,” “Treatment,” “Clinical Trials,” subject areas, the menu will also lead you to an interesting section called “Getting Good Care”. The “Resources” section is extensive but I was particularly impressed by the “The Questions to Ask the Doctor About Breast Cancer” series that includes 14 topic cards on a variety of breast cancer issues. Each card contains pertinent questions to discuss with your doctor regarding a specific breast cancer topic. You can download and print the cards and bring them with you to your next doctor’s appointment.
The “Get Involved” menu invites visitors to participate in a range of different programs. It is nice to see a “Research and Grant” section displayed so prominently on the home page. “ShopKomen.com” allows visitors to demonstrate their loyalty to the cause with a variety of fitness apparel and other gifts and accessories. The home page is well-designed and balanced graphically, albeit a bit busy. I almost ended the review without seeing the tiny link to “Message Boards” at the extreme top right of the page. Clicking the link took me to a very vibrant and active discussion feature with seven general areas of discussion divided further into 25 different topics.
Komen is a major player among healthcare charities. Their site reflects that level of commitment and professionalism as well as reinvestment of its fundraising successes. Susan G. Komen for the Cure
National Breast Cancer Foundation
The National Breast Cancer Foundation has a more limited mission than Komen, dictated perhaps by its more modest profile in the cancer fundraising community. The home page design is clearly feminine but with a less overwhelming pink theme. Dr. Phil offers a video-message on early detection on the opening page. In fact most contributions are focused on early detection programs including free mammograms. The site does not have the same visual range of buttons and interactive menus. Dropping down to the bottom (footer) of the page, you do discover an array of different sections including another on-line video stream, Beyond the Shock, a step-by-step guide to understanding breast cancer, a nice feature for a newly diagnosed visitor perhaps too overwhelmed to do the copious amounts of reading required at other sites. There are nine different forums for discussion groups with thousands of threads. The NBCF can be proud of the features offered on their site. Breast Cancer | Breast Cancer Awareness | National Breast Cancer Foundation
Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Foundation
A number of Being Cancer Network blogger identify themselves as suffering from inflammatory breast cancer or IBC. It is fitting that there is an organization devoted to this unique variant. The IBC Research Foundation does a good job of distinguishing this cancer which is not characterized by a lump in the breast. The median age of diagnosis is lower than traditional breast cancer. The site is somewhat succinct and focused. The menu is placed below the header. Sections are generally one page and include Research, Awareness, Symptoms, and Diagnosed. There is also a Pictures feature which involves clinical photographs of relevant material. While not nearly as broad as other programs, there is no need here to spend funds in order to duplicate educational and support efforts that can be offered more effectively by larger organizations. The IBCRF has stated out their unique territory with appropriate economy. The IBC Research Foundation
Sisters Network, Inc – A National African-American Breast Cancer Network
While the IBCRF above addresses the needs of a cancer subset, then Sisters Network provides a similar service to a sometimes disenfranchised minority population. Even though the overall incidence of breast cancer is lower among black women than white, mortality rates are higher, 5-year survival rates lower, and incidence among woman under 40 is higher. Further aggressive characteristics of breast cancer appear more often in black woman than in their white counterparts. Sisters Network offers a number of outreach and assistance programs. It has 44 local chapters in 22 states. The site is modest though inclusive in what it needs to cover. Graphics are attractive and the pink theme subdued. Navigation is easy from the home page. A social network is offered in increase the sense of support and sisterhood. Sisters Network Inc. : A National African American Breast Cancer Survivorship Organization