Sep 07, 2018
By Tori Brunetti, ASCO Communications
Cancer.Net is ASCO’s patient information website, hosting a wealth of information and resources for people diagnosed with cancer and their families and caregivers. With information on over 120 types of cancer, visitors to the site can find medical information, tips for treatment management, resources for navigating care, and much more. Cancer.Net’s content addresses every phase of a patient’s experience with cancer, from initial diagnosis to survivorship, along with helpful information for caregivers and tools for oncology professionals.
Expert-vetted information on every aspect of cancer
The internet is full of unreliable and misleading cancer information. Cancer.Net is where patients find trusted, accurate information about their disease and get answers to their pressing questions. All content on the website undergoes formal peer review by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, which consists of more than 150 medical, surgical, radiation, pediatric, and gynecologic oncologists, physician assistants, oncology nurses, social workers, and patient advocates.
Being well informed not only helps patients manage the challenges of cancer, it can also improve the quality of the doctor-patient relationship. “Many patients have acknowledged that if they already had foundational knowledge of concepts that were being discussed, they were better able to participate during consultations,” Cancer.Net editor in chief Lidia Schapira, MD, FASCO, said. “In fact, having patients who are well informed almost always guarantees that more questions are asked and information exchanged, leading to greater satisfaction for both the patient and physician and building a productive partnership.”
Cancer.Net content takes patients and caregivers step by step through the cancer treatment process and is written in easy-to-understand, plain language. Glossaries of medical terms help educate and inform site visitors, and a gallery of full-color anatomical illustrations of common cancer sites and staging helps patients understand their diagnosis. An extensive section details more than 45 potential side effects of cancer and its treatment, including ways to prevent, relieve, and manage them. Patients can learn more about supportive and palliative care and cancer clinical trials (including how to find relevant studies and what to consider during treatment decision-making).
For those who want to go beyond the basics of cancer, sections on navigating cancer care and psychosocial coping with cancer can help patients and their families understand and manage the emotional and mental aspects of a cancer diagnosis. Practical concerns that are important to people living with and after cancer are covered in depth, including financial considerations, fertility preservation, and going back to school or work after treatment ends.
Those who want to stay up to date on the latest research in cancer can find easily understandable overviews of highlights from meetings and publications by ASCO and other societies.
Different formats accommodate every kind of learner
Cancer.Net information is available in different formats, catering to different types of learners. For those who don’t prefer to read on a computer or device screen, many materials can be downloaded for free and printed at home.
In the award-winning Cancer.Net Blog, easy-to-read conversational posts cover a multitude of topics, ranging from expert discussions of important topics in cancer care to patient stories. The Cancer.Net Blog regularly publishes posts in Spanish and is starting to translate into Chinese. (In addition, website users can click the “Español” button on many Cancer.Net pages to be directed to a Spanish version of the page, including sections on the most common cancer types in Hispanic/Latino populations in the United States.)
The Cancer.Net podcast series, which was honored with a Merit Award in the Digital Health Awards competition, can be downloaded to a mobile device or played on your browser. Podcast transcripts are also available online. The Research Round Up podcast series highlights the latest and most compelling research on a variety of cancer types and topics outlined by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board.
Online videos are great for visual learners. Cancer.Net patient education videos, led by editorial board and ASCO members, feature oncology experts and patient advocates delivering valuable information in a patient-friendly format, discussing subjects ranging from cancer basics for individual disease types to quality-of-life issues. A special series, PRE-ACT, is a video-based educational program about clinical trials.
Cancer.Net Mobile is an informative mobile app available for iOS and Android devices. Voted one of the Best Medical Apps in the Mobile Star Award’s Best of 2017 program, the app offers information on more than 120 types of cancer, coping with cancer, and navigating cancer care. The news section includes Cancer.Net Blog posts, videos, and podcasts. The MyHealth section is a place for patients to better manage information about their disease. Patients can track symptoms and side effects and log details about their medications, including dosage, frequency, and prescribing doctor. The app displays information on the severity and timing of symptoms and side effects in a clear, comprehensible graph. There is also a section for patients to jot down any questions or thoughts they have, and the microphone capability allows patients to record their doctor’s answers during a visit.
Resources for providers
Cancer.Net makes it easy for doctors to direct their patients to trusted information with a list of quick links to integrate into their practice’s electronic medical records (EMRs) as smart phrases for after-visit patient summaries. “As an ASCO member, I want to make sure that my patients know about the excellent patient resources produced by ASCO experts,” said Cancer.Net associate editor Hyman B. Muss, MD, FASCO. “By integrating Cancer.Net content into my EMR system using smart phrases, I can easily add helpful links to Cancer.Net content in after-visit summaries.”
Although all Cancer.Net content is available online for free, oncology professionals can order high-quality professionally printed materials to stock their office’s waiting room or resource center. These valuable materials, including concise fact sheets, workbook-style guides, and topic-specific booklets, can answer patients’ questions, help them prepare for their next visit, or guide discussions during appointments as patients enter different phases of care. ASCO Answers printed materials are based on the same trusted content available on Cancer.Net. ASCO members receive a 20% discount on their ASCO Answers purchases, and certain materials are free, such as referral cards and Cancer.Net information postcards. Visit cancer.net/estore to order.
Cancer.Net includes a “Find a Cancer Doctor” directory on the homepage. ASCO members can have their practice listed in the Cancer.Net database by updating the Patient Contact Information field in their ASCO member profile. For assistance, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit cancer.net/about-us/health-care-professionals to find more patient-education tools for health care providers.
Cancer.Net is supported in part by ASCO’s Conquer Cancer Foundation.