You are not alone. The Patient Empowerment Network (PEN) community understands the anxiety and uncertainty that comes with a cancer diagnosis. PEN helps patients through every step of their cancer journey and offers meaningful and valuable patient-to-patient connections. Video four, in a five-part series about the Value of PEN, focuses on the ways in which PEN helps patients connect with people who have a similar experience. Through social media channels, patient chats, and blog posts, PEN helps patients and caregivers feel empowered, informed, and less alone as they navigate the life-changing experience of a cancer diagnosis.
Nancy Gatschat is a PEN board member and a cancer survivor who emphasizes the need for patient-to-patient connection. She explains how important it is to have support from people who understand what you’re going through. She says, through PEN, patients can talk to each other and share experiences and that anyone anywhere can connect. The programs and resources offered through PEN are free and are available all hours of the day, every day.
When members of the PEN community connect, they find hope, says Board Member Scott Riccio. He describes the patient-to-patient connections as fantastic because through the community at PEN patients learn that they really are not alone and that there are other people who have been through what they are going through.
The chats on Twitter were particularly helpful to PEN Network Manager Carly Flumer, who is also a cancer survivor. She found that she was comfortable in the Twitter chats knowing that she could ask questions of other people with similar experiences who would understand her without judgement. Patients can follow the chats, called Tweet Chats, through the hashtag #patientchat.
Getting connected and feeling less alone leads to patient empowerment, and the best cancer care happens when you’re empowered. Watch the video and find out how you can get involved
Jennifer Lessinger is a professional writer and editor who learned the value of patient empowerment during her struggle with a hard-to-diagnose and complex endocrine disorder.