The CDC launches a first of its kind virtual human simulation tool aimed at helping cancer survivors adopt healthier behaviors.  The tool is known as Talk to Someone, a place to ask questions and engage in conversations with Linda, a virtual cancer survivor, about a variety of topics, including mental health.

“I had symptoms of clinical depression and anxiety but I couldn’t even see the symptoms in myself and certainly felt a lot of shame and embarrassment in the challenges that I was having,” said cancer survivor Rebecca Shimkets.

Linda will also talk about issues such as alcohol use, tobacco use, nutrition and fitness to prevent recurrences.  Shimkets says it is a tool that would have been valuable to her upon recovery.

“I would have been in the driver’s seat to figure out what was going on and I could have been connected with resources so much sooner and I wouldn’t have had the months literally of suffering that I had,” said Shimkets.

There are nearly 17 million cancer survivors in the US, with 22 million projected in ten years.  Shimkets says there is no shame in having challenges and reaching out for help.

“There is certainly recovery available for everyone out there and encourage you all to reach out,” said Shimkets.