Cancer Support Community

A Custom Platform for Post-Treatment Transition

Cancer Support Community portal homepage

The Challenge 

Recognizing the growing need to better serve the oncology professional community, patients, and caregivers impacted by cancer, the Cancer Support Community (CSC) aimed to introduce a digital platform. This innovative solution would facilitate the dissemination of their Cancer Transition Program courses, previously conducted in person, ensuring their vital services reach those who require them, both now and in the future.

Our Approach 

Harnessing the powerful capabilities of Drupal, we developed a custom portal embedded with novel features tailored to meet the diverse needs of its users. One notable feature includes individual autosaved notes, a tool that allows cancer survivors to chronicle their thoughts and track their progress throughout their recovery journey. In addition to this, we meticulously designed the platform with a bespoke system for access and permissions. This system ensures that facilitators and administrators can efficiently manage courses, locations, and licenses, thus enhancing the overall functionality and effectiveness of the services provided.

The Results 

The launch of the custom platform stands as a compelling embodiment of CSC's steadfast commitment to dynamic service evolution, echoing its enduring promise to provide unparalleled support to the cancer-affected community.

An opportunity for impact

One of our goals as an agency is to partner with as many impactful organizations as possible. We see a unique opportunity to use our skills in design and development to empower these organizations with the products we build. This motivator is why we were thrilled to work with the Cancer Support Community. 

The Cancer Support Community (CSC) is the world’s largest professionally-led nonprofit network of cancer support worldwide. They have dedicated themselves to ensuring that all cancer patients are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action, and sustained by the community.

In the past, the CSC held in-person meetings for its post-cancer patients. Our mission with this project was to help the CSC translate their in-person sessions into a digital experience. We wanted CSC to reach a broader community so that they could improve the lives of those impacted by cancer. 

Cancer Support Community patient quote

Converting the analog to digital

Before the online platform, the program was run in locations across the country using physical workbooks. Survivors would be able to read through the workbook’s material, take notes, and participate in group discussions.

After an extensive Discovery Phase with CSC and their respective stakeholders, we determined that there were two main challenges that needed to be addressed in the build.

The first was figuring out how to transform an in-person experience into a digital platform. Since the current patient materials were hard copies, we needed to build a content entry component for the users. 

The second would be determining the hierarchical access for the different platform users - administrators, editors, and end-users (cancer survivors). We needed to provide the facilitators with the ability to build out and edit site pages so that they could change the workbook’s content based on their specific needs. Furthermore, we had to ensure that end-users would only be able to access the material for the courses they are actively enrolled in.


Why Your Project Needs a Discovery Phase
Cancer Support Community portal screens

Crafting a custom technical solution

We began our build using Drupal for the project’s framework and custom components.

A feature that was extremely important to CSC was making sure the users still had the ability to take notes within the digital workbooks. Our development team embedded a custom notetaking Drupal module within the portal so that the digital workbook would mimic the in-person experience. The survivor’s notes autosave as they type and are only accessible to them. Patients also have the option to print off their notes for reference later if they prefer a tangible copy. Furthermore, the notes feature allowed the platform’s content editors to place notes sections throughout the workbook’s pages with prompts of their choosing for the users.

The second module our team created for the portal managed the multiple permission levels needed for each role. It was necessary to have different accessibility for the administrators, editors, facilitators, and end-users. Thankfully, we were able to work with the CSC to understand these diverse roles and establish the appropriate permission levels.

When the portal build was finally complete, our team wrote step-by-step instructions for the CSC to deploy the portal without any issues. 

Seriously, I'm impressed with all we were able to accomplish, and we have also cultivated such a great, collaborative, honest working relationship. Excited to work more with them next year.

Chelsea Murphy - Full-Stack Developer

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