Fighting Prostate Cancer With Facebook

By Julie D. Andrews 

When a marketing executive found out that he had cancer, he put his career knowledge to work toward a different purpose and goal — gathering and supporting the cancer-struck community.

Facebook is helping him get through cancer, wrote Gabe Canales, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer at age 35.

“And for me, that’s invaluable,” wrote Canales, now 37, in a post for Talking About Men’s Health.

At the time of his diagnosis, Canales was heading a marketing company. The conversations at work had revolved around how to leverage Facebook to foster community in efforts to attract and build relationships with new customers.

“At the time,” he wrote, “I was not ready to seek an in-person support group.”

He put his social media smarts to work and started a Facebook page called Journey with Prostate Cancer. The page currently has more than 7,000 followers, and its success prompted him to start a nonprofit called Blue Cure to help fight the prostate cancer that was robbing his life.

The success was unbelievable — it wasn’t measured in likes, Canales said, but in engagement, adding:

A distraught wife would post a comment about her husband not reacting well to treatment, and we’d get 10 to 20 comments of support. And it continued to grow. Social media gets criticism for the harm it can do, but Facebook can be a source for good, providing support and education for the cancer community.

Readers: Have you or anyone you know ever turned to Facebook for help in fighting cancer or other illnesses?