Wednesday, July 05, 2000

Web site answers breast cancer questions

By Peggy O'Farrell
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A woman who's just been given a diagnosis of breast cancer has plenty of questions. But she's not always capable of putting those questions into words or of listening to the doctor's answers.

        Dr. Marisa Weiss, a Philadelphia oncologist and breast cancer specialist, hopes, the new Web site she's designed and launched, will help patients formulate questions and find the answers they need.

        Dr. Weiss is the author of Living Beyond Breast Cancer and president and founder of the Living Beyond Breast Cancer non-profit organization.

        Advances in breast cancer diagnosis and treatment in the last few years make it “an exciting field” for practitioners, Dr. Weiss said, but doctors have to balance having more information to give patients against having less time to spend with those patients.

        “The information is so complicated and so lengthy, the woman may need to hear it again or go over it again on her time, at her convenience,” she said.

        Many health Web sites are “a mile wide, but an inch deep,” Dr. Weiss said. provides “a very deep, content-driven site,” she said.

        Highlights include:

        • Common Ground, a section that provides insights and tools for day-to-day concerns of women with breast cancer, including strategies for coping with the fear that a breast cancer diagnosis can cause.

        • Major sections on understanding breast cancer; prevention; diagnosis, treatment; recurrence and moving beyond breast cancer.

        It's important that women understand their options in treating breast cancer, Dr. Weiss said.

        “Breast cancer is a huge crisis, but it's not necessarily an emergency,” she said. “You should take the time to get the information that you need so that you can make the best decision possible.”

        Cincinnati's Dianne Dunkelman, founder and president of Speaking of Women's Health, said is an important resource for women with breast cancer. She is a member of the Web site's professional advisory board.

        “There's so much out there, and there's so many different sites, and I think what they're going to find Marisa's site is a concise approach,” Ms. Dunkelman said. “She's very much into the doctor/patient relationship. She realizes that nobody knows a woman's body better than she knows it herself, and she very much trusts in her patients.”


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