Highmark Cancer Collaborative to Launch CanSurround in 2018

Living with cancer requires that patients have access to high-quality cancer care from leading doctors and hospitals. But to heal, patients also need emotional support — including encouragement from family, friends, and other caregivers.

That is why, beginning Jan. 1, 2018, Highmark’s member program, the Highmark Cancer Collaborative, will pilot CanSurround, a new online support network for Highmark members who are fighting cancer. This unique service is intended to encourage and support cancer patients as they progress from diagnosis, through treatment, and beyond.

By nature of an exclusive arrangement between Highmark and CanSurround, Highmark and its affiliated health plans will be the only health plans in the Pennsylvania, Delaware, and West Virginia service areas to offer CanSurround.

What is CanSurround?

CanSurround is a unique online network that envelops cancer patients with a wealth of emotional support and encouragement as they confront the disease.

Nurses who are knowledgeable in oncology and digital health developed CanSurround based on their experience and research. Patients and caregivers helped to co-design the site, which provides a missing link between medical treatment and recovery.

By joining CanSurround, participants gain access to a variety of helpful online tools and resources geared toward nurturing them through their uncertain and stressful journey. These resources include:

  • Checklists and trackers to help navigate the health care system
  • Interactive thought inquiry
  • A personal journal and mood/distress tracker
  • Relaxation exercises to reduce stress and promote positive thinking
  • Timely and inspirational articles relevant to their condition

These support tools are tailored to each patient's specific cancer diagnosis. They provide a more personalized and engaging experience as patients cope, wait on test results, ask questions, and navigate the different stages of the care process.

CanSurround also enables patients to create an online Support Circle of family and friends so they can communicate, share news about their triumphs and challenges, and find encouragement.

An informational flier for members is being developed that will explain how CanSurround works and will include instructions for cancer patients on how to join this exclusive online community.

What are the health benefits to patients?

According to research by Campos1, psychosocial care plays a significant role in the patient care process. Their research claims that such care and support — like that provided by CanSurround — reduces emotional distress, anxiety, and depression, and improves health-related quality of life (Fuller, 2013); shows reduced disease recurrence and death (Andersen, 2008); and shows improved functional status and immunity (Andersen, 2007).

Research also shows that psychosocial attention leads to improved health outcomes and survival rates and improved medication adherence.

Who manages the CanSurround site?

CanSurround is an independent company that has contracted with Highmark to provide this service to our members who are fighting cancer and to their family and friends. In addition, CanSurround participants who are Highmark members can call Blues On Call at 1-888-BLUE-428 (258-3428) for additional support.

Is CanSurround secure and confidential?

CanSurround has committed to protecting the information that participants provide when using its services. Their privacy notice can be found at cansurround.com .

1Campos Research. "Highmark 2020: The Oncology Customer Journey." April 25, 2016.

Important Notice: CanSurround is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Patients should always seek the advice of their physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions or concerns regarding a medical condition.