When you have a health problem, there's a story that only you — not your doctor or family — can tell.

Hearing about the experiences of people with the same illness as yours — how they first noticed changes in their health, how they felt when they were diagnosed, and how they confronted their fears and went through treatment — can be profoundly empowering and encouraging, not to mention educational.

A group of Japanese researchers has published such first person accounts of patient experiences online, a project modeled after the Britain-born Database of Individual Patients' Experiences (DIPEx).