Sunday, January 10, 2010

Are You in the Know?

I can't stress again, how the internet has become such an invaluable resource to me since my husband's cancer diagnosis.  It has opened doors that I never could have imagined and it has enabled me to obtain vital information from many different sources.

It's sad to think that many cancer patients in today's society are still relying solely on their medical diagnosis and not researching any further.  Many of you may ask, "why and what would I search for?"  "Doesn't my doctor provide me with all of the information I will ever need?"

Of course your physician/specialist/oncologist will definitely give you a diagnosis, do the required testing and prescribe treatments or radiation, but a cancer patient needs more than that!

You need support from other cancer patients, caregivers and families.  Many of you will no doubt already have that in your everyday lives, but for other cancer patients who are alone or have a relatively small circle of friends, you can most definitely interact with another cancer patient who has your type of cancer, right here on the internet with just a few clicks of a mouse.  Overtime, you can create a community of people who understand exactly what you are going through and you can create a source of information about your cancer, possible new treatments that might be available to you, remedies for some of your side effects, an opportunity to attend a seminar about your type of cancer via a video presentation or telephone forum and most of all, the internet will allow you to connect with others who can provide information that your doctor probably cannot.    

I spoke with a family member of a man who has had cancer now for several months just a few days ago.  Throughout our conversation, I asked what type of cancer the patient had, and would you believe, that after all of this time, he (the patient nor his family) still does not know.  The answer I was given was "well, he has it in several areas, but we are not sure what "type" of cancer it is"!!!!  To say I was shocked, would be an understatement, because my first reaction was "how can any patient obtain the proper treatment, if he/she does not know what type of cancer they have?"  I wondered later if this particular patient was offered the option of having a biopsy, only to refuse it.  That in itself, would be a major mistake, as you DO need to know your TYPE of cancer in order to receive the best, possible treatments that are out there.  Such a simple thing that every cancer patient needs to know.  At first, I didn't realize the importance of this critical information, but it can be life saving to say the least.

The internet allows not only patients, but caregivers and families to interact with others and obtain support when you need it most, as well as information that your family oncologist may not know, such as the best solution for a particular side effect or what you might expect in the first few days of having radiation or chemotherapy treatments.  You will get first hand information via the internet as you correspond directly with the patients/caregivers themselves who have the personal experience in these areas that doctors do not.

Just today, I was given a website link by another caregiver that can allow me to go in and determine what drugs may interact with others that my husband may be taking.  Wow....I was amazed to say the least, as I was not aware such a website existed!  You can check it out at the following      (you may have to copy and paste it into the URL)

Such a simple thing, but such vital information for all of us to be able to ascertain.  I cannot thank this caregiver enough for all of the great info that is being sent my way, and once again, we would have never met if it had not been for the internet.

There are thousands of great websites out there, so I trust that you will continue to keep searching and using your computer to it's greatest advantage along your journey with cancer.  If you discover a website that you would like me to post on my blog, by all means, please send it along in the "Comment" section.

Remember, sometimes help is just a click away!!! 

NOTE:  always remember to check with your doctor first, before making any medical decisions based on what you may discover here on the internet


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