Ventura County Star reports that cancer rates have been dropping, most likely due to early diagnosis thanks to online sites that provide valuable information.

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This network was developed by the American Cancer Society. The site allows users to email, private chat, and look for other members who are similar to themselves. It fosters a supportive and educational environment for cancer patients. There are stories told by patients available in audio as well as in transcript form. Of noteworthy is the site’s “Expression Gallery” that lets members upload quotes, pictures, stories, etc that represents the patient’s experience or feelings as they battle cancer. The site can also be translated into “espanol” for spanish-speaking users, a feature that is lacking in most communities online.

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Cancer Care is a free, non-profit organization that offers support and information to cancer patients. The site offers information for patients, patient families and their caregivers. The site also features online support groups with oncology specialists who answer questions.

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This site offers an online discussion board and a wide variety of information ranging from treatment decision tools to cancer statistics. The site also features the ability to search for clinical trials looking for patients as well as the ability to search for support groups based on zipcode.

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OncoLink was developed by the University of Pennsylvania’s Abramson Cancer Center. While the site lacks any sort of social-networking feature, it does offer patients the opportunity to ask questions to physicians who specialize in different cancers. It is a great tool for those who are too afraid to ask about their condition in person or do not have access to a specialized physician. Another great feature is the OncoLink gallery that highlights art work drawn by cancer patients.

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Title: Examination
By: Mark Barmak Shetabi (OncoLink)

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