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Survivorship Issues: The Legacy of 7 Surviviors

Network - Winter 2007

In 1985, seven cancer survivors discovered they all felt a deep loneliness. When they shared this feeling with Joseph Painter, M.D., along with their desire to know people who truly understood what they had experienced, the M. D. Anderson vice president helped them found the Anderson Network.

With the mission of sharing hope and understanding with anyone diagnosed with cancer, the Network’s first program was the Patient and Caregiver Telephone Support Line. Twenty years later, it continues to link patients with like diagnoses and treatments.

Since then, 12 more programs have been added, all for current and former cancer patients and their caregivers. Most of them are without cost and open to anyone, regardless of where treatment has been received.

Survivors’ needs in mind

From the beginning, members of Anderson Network were concerned about the needs of both survivors and the newly diagnosed, knowing that together they formed a community that could give to each other. Today, members continue to share hope, support and understanding with anyone living with or beyond cancer.

Some of the current programs in which survivor participation is encouraged include:

Patient and Caregiver Support Line — a telephone service that encourages those who are at least six months post-treatment to share their experiences with patients and caregivers with similar cancer diagnoses and treatments.

Community Outreach Groups — peer-facilitated support groups providing monthly meetings for cancer patients in outlying communities. Currently, there are six groups in Texas: Corpus Christi, Austin, Harlingen, McAllen, Houston (for men only) and Medina; and New Orleans, La.

Living Fully With and Beyond Cancer Conference — an annual celebration held in September with speakers on issues important to anyone touched by cancer, including the latest research, clinical trials, nutrition, coping skills, keynote speakers, humor and fun.

WarmNet — an online support group offering friendship, humor and M. D. Anderson program information to anyone touched by cancer. To join, send an e-mail to and type “subscribe warmnet” in the body of the message.

Programs that offer information for survivors and their caregivers include:

Ask the Expert — an online message board giving patients and caregivers the opportunity to ask M. D. Anderson experts treatment-related questions when they log onto the board to submit questions. Past postings on pain management, chemobrain, fatigue, nutrition, lymphedema, skin, kidney, prostate and bladder cancers also are available

Network newsletter — this quarterly newsletter with its patient profiles, research features, survivorship issues, “Doctor, Doctor” question-and-answer columns and other information pertinent to cancer survivors.

Becoming a member of Anderson Network

Membership in Anderson Network is open to any current or former cancer patient or caregiver, regardless of where treatment was received. There are no dues or fees. The only requirements are that:

  • You complete a patient/caregiver profile by calling the Anderson Network at (713) 792-2553 or toll free at (800) 345-6324.
  • You be willing and committed to serve in ways that advance the mission of the Anderson Network: As someone who has been there, to be willing to share hope, support and understanding to others challenged by cancer and to support M. D. Anderson’s integrated quality programs in patient care, research, education and prevention.

How much or how little you become involved is your choice. Anderson Network members reside in 46 states, Puerto Rico and five other countries.

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center