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2 breast cancer survivors offer support to other women through website

Operators of the patients' association website "Peer Ring" and cancer survivors Nobuko Ueda, right, and Yuko Saita are seen on Sept. 21, 2017. (Mainichi)

Two women who experienced breast cancer have decided to open a website consultation service, aiming to offer support and expert answers to women from the time of diagnosis through to the treatment process.

The two women are 45-year-old Nobuko Ueda of Yokohama and 39-year-old Yuko Saita of Tokyo, and their patients' association website is called "Peer Ring" ( Along with being able to ask other women who have battled cancers such as breast, uterine and ovarian about coping with the side effects of treatment and other issues, the site also offers information for making daily life easier for patients.

Saita was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 35 years old -- and some three months into pregnancy. She was told by her doctor, "If you plan to keep the baby, then you cannot undergo chemotherapy," and she was conflicted over whether or not to terminate her pregnancy to undergo treatment. She had already experienced a miscarriage, and wasn't about to give up on her child. However, no matter where she asked, there was little information about breast cancer treatment during pregnancy.

She finally stumbled upon the blog of a cancer patient who had given birth in a Tokyo hospital. She made an appointment at the hospital as soon as she could, and learned that even during pregnancy, if elements such as the timing and type of drug were carefully considered, treatment was possible.

Thanks to chemotherapy, Saita's cancer went into recession, and when she gave birth, she also underwent surgery to remove the cancer at the same time.

"If I hadn't found that blog when I did, I don't know what would have happened to me or my child," Saita said. "I want to let as many patients as possible know about my experience."

Around the time she was thinking about how to spread her knowledge, she met Ueda at a patients' group at the hospital. Ueda was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015. She had wanted to hear the authentic voices of other patients, but there were few chances, and she felt an urgent need for a place where her and other breast cancer patients could exchange information. She also noticed that the number of women who could attend the patients' association meetings was limited due to work, childrearing and simple geographic distance.

Hearing Ueda's concerns, Saita agreed wholeheartedly. Together, the women began "Peer Ring," and the number of members registered on the site, including people from abroad, has already exceeded 100 since they began the service this July. Both women expressed that they wish to put energy into making the website even more easy to use for their members.

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