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People with cancer and their caregivers can turn to a new Web site to help answer the question from concerned relatives and friends, “What can I do to help?”

A collaboration between Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc and the national nonprofit organization CancerCare, www.MyCancerCircle.net is a free, private, customizable online tool designed to help caregivers or the patients themselves organize and coordinate the practical and emotional help offered by friends and family members. The Web site enables the caregiver, patient, or designated coordinator to create an online community that allows people to easily and efficiently offer their assistance with daily tasks such as cooking meals, doing household chores, or driving the patient to a medical appointment. In addition, www.MyCancerCircle.net is set up to encourage message and photo sharing among members of the private online community the caregiver or patient created, which also provides access to resources available through CancerCare, such as counseling services, support groups, and educational workshops. 

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The simple process for creating a MyCancerCircle community and community page is explained in step-by-step instructions on the Web site. Potential members of a particular person’s community have to be invited to join the person’s circle or have to request membership.

The patient or caregiver can develop a list of tasks that need to be done, and community members can sign up for a specific assignment. Members are notified by e-mail when new needs are posted, and those who volunteered their services receive reminders of their commitments. The patient or caregiver is free to shut down their community page at any time. ONA