belong app belong app "There is no reason to fight alone." That's the idea behind Belong, a new app to connect people affected by cancer. (Photo: Belong)

Cancer goes social with new support app

Belong helps patients and families cope with the ups and downs of the disease.

Anyone who's been touched by cancer – patients, survivors, widows, doctors, nurses – knows it's about much more than treating a disease. There's the emotional trauma, the hair loss, the side effects, the anxiety, the disappointment, the exhilaration, the fear ... it's no wonder words like "fight" and "battle" are used to describe the toll cancer can take.

A free app developed by Israeli entrepreneurs, who have lost loved ones to cancer, aims to ease the journey a bit. Belong is billed as a social network for cancer sufferers and their families – a one-stop shop for tips, assistance and support from medical professionals, researchers and fellow patients. It also offers a personal toolbox to manage medical records so you can share them easily with your family and doctors.

Co-founder and CEO Eliran Malki said the idea behind the app is simple: “There is no reason for every patient to go through this fight all alone and learn solely from his own experience."

With Belong, patients can be better equipped to ask questions before a particular surgery or appointment. They can also find out which vitamins and supplements have worked for others, and which to avoid.

"MRI/CT errors are very common!" one Belong user shared. "Insist on getting a second opinion."

"Make sure the biopsy sample is big enough," another user suggested. "It could be valuable later on in testing new therapeutic options."

Belong provides access to advice, support and information for cancer patients and their families.Belong provides access to advice, support and information for cancer patients and their families. (Photo: Belong)

For Belong's founders, the ultimate reward is hearing from survivors who benefitted from the app's information and community. Dr. Dorit Nitzan, a two-time breast cancer survivor, said the app helped her make "sensible decisions regarding the treatments, coping with the situation and overcoming side effects."

The other benefit, Nitzan said, is free and easy access to experts. "Linking and guiding those who are suitable for clinical trials, and guiding us on best treatments and care. Sharing with us updated information on new studies and developments. Supporting us, literally caring for us, pulling and pushing us through this challenging time in our lives."

The app is available on both the Apple App Store and Google Play.

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