Last updated: Dec 03, 2008
journal-blog-good-breast-cancer
Going online may not only make you feel better, but it may also help you get better.
(GETTY IMAGES)
Studies show that expressive writing and talk therapy can help women with breast cancer feel better. It follows, then, that the electronic equivalent of such things, i.e., blogging, would also be good for your health. In fact, more than one group is investigating the notion that online unloading—connecting with others who know what you're going through—may actually improve coping skills and help you live longer and better. Well, duh. We bloggers knew that, didn't we?


Proof is nice, however: One study has already reported the benefits of breast cancer patients using online resources, and other researchers—such as Alice Flaherty, MD, a neuroscientist at Harvard University, and Nancy Morgan, the director of Georgetown University's Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center's Arts and Humanities Program—are interested in how blogging might have mental and physical benefits.

It may be that blogging about stressful experiences such as breast cancer acts as a placebo to dull pain, just like in-person complaining does, says Dr. Flaherty, who is the author of The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer's Block, and the Creative Brain. Or, it could be that sharing personal stories triggers the release of feel-good dopamine.

Some hospitals have started hosting patient blogs on their websites as docs begin to recognize the therapeutic value, Morgan told the Scientific American. Unlike a journal, blogging offers the added benefit of receptive readers in similar situations, she says. Morgan is hoping to conduct more research on expressive writing studies that include blogs.


While the researchers do their thing, women with breast cancer are doing theirs: They're talking and sharing and finding comfort where they can in the blogosphere. Here, some of my favorite blogs.

Mothers With Cancer
More than 20 moms who have or have had various kinds of cancer (including breast cancer) and are parenting kids of all ages share their experiences here. Their posts, from how to position a prosthesis in a mastectomy bra to trying to make sense of their most recent doctor visit, are heartfelt and helpful.

Two Hands
Jeanette Vagnozzi is the 44-year-old star of this moving blog about a California woman waging her second fight with breast cancer. Jeanette started the blog almost five years ago when she was first diagnosed, and gives full details of her treatment and reconstruction.

Toddler Planet
Inflammatory breast cancer doesn't show up on a mammogram, as blogger Susan Neibur found out. She writes about her diagnosis, treatment, and recovery, as well as her crazy-busy life as a working mom with two toddlers.

If you have a favorite good-for-your-breasts blog, please let me know.

Read Anne's previous posts:
Good News: My Migraines May Be Good for My Breasts