The rapid pace of advances in medical research today has made it more challenging for patients to stay current on the latest developments in breast cancer care and research. While the Internet has made it possible for people to access hundreds of Web sites in search of answers to their questions, the information available online may be hard to understand, incomplete, out of date, or wrong.
Recognizing patients' desire to stay informed and the shortcomings of many Internet sites, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has developed a Web site (http://www.dana-farber.org/
breastcancer) that provides accurate information on breast cancer care and research for patients, as well as their family and friends. The site features include:
* Databases of clinical trials underway at Dana-Farber and at cancer centers across the country;
* Videotaped presentations from the recent Dana-Farber/Partners Cancer Care breast cancer patient symposium, "Advances in Science and Care: A Forum for Women with Breast Cancer." The experts spoke about the latest in breast cancer diagnostics, disease staging, surgery, hormonal therapy, radiation therapy, quality of life issues, and prevention;
* Personal stories from breast cancer patients, survivors and their families; and
* A link to the Family Connections Web site, a comprehensive online resource that includes topics of concern to most parents facing a cancer diagnosis, such as how to tell a child that a parent has cancer and tips for helping children cope with a parent's illness.
As breast cancer treatments have become more complex the past 10-15 years, the need for patients to be more educated about breast cancer and their care has increased, explains Eric Winer, MD, director of the Breast Oncology Center at Dana-Farber.
"There are more breast cancer treatment options than ever before, and we have recognized that a one-size-fits all approach simply does not work," says Winer. "At the same time, women with breast cancer are more knowledgeable than ever before and most want to be true partners in all health care decisions. By using the Internet to provide current and accurate breast cancer information, we can help patients stay well informed."
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (www.dana-farber.org) is a principal teaching affiliate of the Harvard Medical School and is among the leading cancer research and care centers in the United States. It is a founding member of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, designated a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute.