These women prove that friendship and community can provide comfort, support, and connection during difficult times.

When it comes to coping with the life-changing reality of a breast cancer diagnosis — and navigating the confusing world of treatment options — a strong support system is crucial.

A 2016 study found that among women with invasive breast cancer, those with the most social ties (think: friends, family, partners, community) had significantly lower risk of death and disease recurrence than those who were more socially isolated.

For those looking for some extra support, BC Healthline can help. The free app gives members the opportunity to join groups and participate in live discussions, get matched with community members for a chance to make new friends, and stay up to date on the latest breast cancer news and research.

We asked the BC Healthline community how their friends — both on and off the app — are helping them get by. Here’s what they shared:

1. Guidance on what to expect

“Friends on this app have helped with what to expect through this journey… from diagnosis to surgery to side effects from everything. It’s good to hear these stories because it helps to prepare for whatever comes next. 💪”

— CancerSucks

2. Love and encouragement

“My journey started almost one year ago and I have had support from day one! I have a sister who texted me every single day without fail. All my friends and all my co-workers were by my side with their love and encouragement.

All the people at the cancer center have been so amazingly caring and compassionate. My church started doing their service on Facebook so I would not be left out.

And I found this app! All the lovely ladies have been nothing but informative and encouraging. I connected with a few and one of them was slightly behind me in treatment. It felt so good to be able to help her by giving her a better idea of what to expect.

Like I said, I have been so blessed. I love them all and could never have gotten this far without all of them.”

— Andi Black

3. Regular check-ins

“I’ve had many friends who have reached out to me. Sending prayers up and just stopping by, checking on me. Great support system 🙏🏿 👍🏿. This app is a plus as I read through different things/changes we all go through.”

— Doris Terry

4. Small gestures that go a long way

“My friends dropped off two pairs of pajamas and a robe today. Something to feel good in after my surgery next week ❤️ ❤️.”

— Michele

5. Unconditional acceptance

“Just reading everyone’s posts and stories has helped me tremendously and being accepted for who I am is awesome!”

— Hellmellyj

6. Priceless knowledge

“At the beginning I was a little overwhelmed digesting all the new information from all the sources, but after I passed that stage, it is priceless all the love, the friendship, the knowledge, the support we all give to each other here. Thank you every one of you 💕 💕🙏🏻 🙏🏻 .”

— Elli3

Kristen Domonell is an editor at Healthline who’s passionate about using the power of storytelling to help people live their healthiest, most aligned lives. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, meditation, camping, and tending to her indoor plant jungle.