18 posts from October, 2011

Recognizing Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Posted October 19th, 2011 by

Have you been seeing pink this month – such as on the lids of your Yoplait yogurt? That’s because it’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a partnership of numerous organizations working together to promote breast cancer awareness, share information on the disease and provide greater access to screening services.

October Is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Here at PatientsLikeMe, we have 147 patients reporting breast cancer as well as 10 patients reporting inflammatory breast cancer (IBC), a rare but very aggressive form of the disease. Notably, 93% of our breast cancer patients are female, and 7% of them are male. (Although breast cancer primarily occurs in women, it can occur in men too, with approximately 1,910 new cases per year in the US for men.)

Given that breast cancer is the second most common form of cancer for women (after skin cancer), we know there are many more breast cancer patients and survivors out there than our membership numbers show. That’s why we encourage anyone affected by breast cancer to join PatientsLikeMe and share your treatment data to help others. For example, what was your experience with radiation or lumpectomy? What tips would you give other patients? These are the types of invaluable data points you can share here.

Finally, we’d like to leave with you a glimpse into the life of a real breast cancer patient who has battled the disease three times – as well as multiple sclerosis. Read our candid interview with TysabriSept08 in honor of National Cancer Survivors Day this past June.

Creating Wheelchair Awareness Through Photos

Posted October 18th, 2011 by

For someone who uses a wheelchair, there are barriers and hazards everywhere – things that others may not see. But how do you raise visibility of the issue?

Wheelchair Barrier 1:  A telephone pole occurs every 100 feet in the middle of sidewalk in Gamma's neighborhood, preventing those using wheelchairs from passing.

One of our longtime MS members, gamma, decided that a photo essay of the obstacles that exist in her neighborhood (considered a wheelchair-friendly community) and others would the best way to illustrate the problem. “My hope is that when this presentation is completed I can get it into the hands of people that can use it to raise awareness about unsafe situations for the wheelchair or stroller user,” she says.

Wheelchair Barrier 2:  This intersection has no "sloped curb," therefore anyone using a wheelchair cannot get from the street level to the sidewalk level.

What’s an example of a hazard or barrier? Wheelchair users at PatientsLikeMe – who number more than 1,300 and use both powered and manual wheelchairs – report having difficulty with potholes, cobblestone entrances, uneven sidewalks, narrow aisles, yellow bumps on ramps, heavy doors and more. But it’s easier to “see” these hazards and barriers than just list them. That’s why gamma is calling for photo submissions.

Wheelchair Barrier 3:  Many homeowners do not realize that putting their trashcan in the middle of the sidewalk blocks access for wheelchair users.

Have you encountered something in your neighborhood that would pose problems for a wheelchair user? Snap a photo to aid this grassroots patient project. Then send it to shalegamma@aol.com along with your full name for credit. Thanks in advance for your contribution!