War On Cancer, the Swedish-based tech company that aims to improve the mental health of everyone affected by cancer, with future partnerships set to bridge the gap between patients and crucial oncology research through users opting in to share their health data, today launches on iOS and Android.
Co-founded by 32-year-old CEO Fabian Bolin, who was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2015 (currently in remission following 900 days of chemotherapy), the War On Cancer storytelling platform allows users to share their journey through pictures, stories and updates which help them to inspire and be inspired.
With 2018 research from the British Medical Journal (BMJ) showing that 1 in 5 cancer patients suffer from depression, compared to 1 in 20 across the general population, the free-to-download War On Cancer app aims to radically improve the mental wellbeing of everyone affected by cancer, enabling people to feel, often for the first time, that they do not have to go through their experiences alone, while simultaneously empowering them to make a genuine difference to the
lives of others.
War On Cancer facilitates more authentic connections when compared to other platforms: helping patients, survivors, and loved ones to interact with, follow, and discover people sharing real-life experiences.
The Inspiration Behind War On Cancer The technology company was co-founded in 2015 by CEO, Fabian Bolin, and COO, Sebastian Hermelin.
Earlier that year, Fabian, a former investment banker in London’s Canary Wharf, had been diagnosed with leukaemia, a type of blood cancer.
From his hospital bed, Fabian uploaded a post to Facebook which went viral, attracting 13,000 shares within the first 24 hours.
Enthused by this response, he went on to blog about his experiences of battling cancer and, through doing this, realised the positive effects that storytelling had on his own mental health, and the impact that a digital platform which allows people from all over the world to share their own experiences, would have.
War On Cancer CEO and co-founder Fabian Bolin comments: “We help people affected by cancer to engage, learn, and thrive.
From my own experiences of fighting cancer, I know too well the mental trauma that comes with it, and I often didn’t feel as though I was treated like a human being.
One of the hardest things that people have to deal with is the severe loss of their self-worth and self-esteem.
Our aim is to unite people all over the world with others going through similar experiences to ensure that no one feels as though they have to fight their illness
War On Cancer and researchers at Stockholm’s world-renowned Karolinska Institute are currently applying for funding for a research project to explore the effects that using War On Cancer has on patients’ mental wellbeing.
The completion of this study will provide validation that could potentially result in the platform being digitally prescribed to cancer patients by healthcare professionals.
Anna Mia Ekström, Professor, MD, MPH, PhD, and Research Group Leader at Karolinska Institute, comments: “The profound loss of self-worth is the largest contributory factor to mental illness amongst patients.
This is especially true for those with serious and stigmatising diagnoses such as cancer and HIV.
This is a neglected area of research on which we need to focus more in the future, as it potentially holds the keys to radically improved quality of care and
life for both patients and their loved ones.”
At launch, War On Cancer’s focus will be on fostering and sustaining a community which will help it to achieve its mission of improving the mental health of everyone affected by cancer, but is in ongoing and advanced discussions with leading organisations within the healthcare and life sciences sectors, as well as renowned universities and researchers.
War On Cancer is passionate about data ownership being given back to users, and with these partnerships will create a new data sharing dynamic in which nothing is provided to external organisations without a user giving their consent.
Through this transparent and consensual data sharing, War On Cancer will empower its users to have a genuine, positive impact on the wider cancer ecosystem, which further increases their sense of self-worth.
According to Research!Sweden, 95% of the Swedish population is willing to share their health data, such as the result of a blood test of the effectiveness of certain treatments, for research and health purposes.
“Moving forward, we will empower cancer patients to contribute to research,” adds Fabian Bolin. “This not only has a huge impact on their mental health and sense of self-worth, but also helps to drive genuine advancements within the field and save lives.
This will play a crucial role in the acceleration of research and healthcare, help to facilitate more successful clinical trials, and provide users with an even greater sense of purpose.”
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