A team of media professionals, all too familiar with
the impact of cancer, are running an online resource to help patients and their families deal with the disease.
SurvivorNet, a site founded in 2018, provides information to assist people in making better decisions about their care and to guide them along their journey as cancer survivors.
This is done via videos, links, news updates and other content, and with input from experts at institutions such as Memorial Sloan-Kettering, Dana Farber and NYU Langone.
In many cases, people seek this information on what may be “the worst day or week of their life,” says co-founder Steve Alperin.
Alperin, a former ABC News executive, got involved when his father died of cancer. And now SurvivorNet has a staff of 40.
The site pulls 2.5 million visitors a month, reflecting continuing growth of 200% year on year. It is supported by advertising. “We’re very much a company with goals to create a sustainable commercial model,” Alperin says.
Alison Maxwell, who was named editor-in-chief in February, also has experience with the disease. “My husband was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2015, and by 2017, it had spread to his liver. It was stage 4. But immunotherapy has brought him to a point where there is no evidence of disease,” showing the efficacy of new treatments.
She adds: “Ten years ago, my husband would not still be with us.”
Maxwell, who previously served as managing editor of Life & Travel for USA Today, is now trying to help families feel empowered and prepared as they head into a cancer battle.
The information must be structured so it is pertinent at a given moment in the journey.
Alperin notes that 80% of people with cancer go community hospitals, rather than big institutions, where they may not get the same level of care. That’s especially true of the poor and people of color.
To that end, the company recently founded Close The Gap, a media resource aimed at raising awareness and combating the disparities that exist.
Cancer does not exist in isolation. Alperin argues it has to be measured “by what’s going on in your life.”