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Webcast Puts Power in the Hands of Patients

CancerWise - October 2007


By Darcy De Leon

Cancer patients can learn about treatment and recovery options during twice-monthly webcasts that feature a patient and his or her doctor talking about a specific cancer or topic.

The series, "M. D. Anderson Presents Patient Power With Andrew Schorr," which airs every other Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. CST, began in March and has been extended for another year to offer patients ongoing support and information.

“The most important thing for cancer patients is for them and their family members to get smarter about their illness,” says host Andrew Schorr, a survivor of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and a health communications expert who founded HealthTalk more than 20 years ago. “You can't be in a situation where you're not aware and give up that responsibility to someone else.

“So the first goal of Patient Power is for you to be a powerful patient. And based on that, you then make informed decisions that are the best for you.”

New Patient Power topics announced

Schorr practices what he preaches. After being diagnosed with cancer in 1996, the Seattle resident sought a sub-specialist in his disease at M. D. Anderson and entered a clinical trial for a new experimental treatment. As patient number 60 in a phase II trial, he became one of the first patients with CLL to try a new drug called rituximab (Rituxan®) with chemotherapy. His disease has remained in remission.

During his treatment at M. D. Anderson, the idea for Patient Power began to form, but the first webcast did not become a reality until two years ago.

The broadcasts, which are either 30 minutes or an hour long, focus on M. D. Anderson patients and medical staff. However, the intent of the broadcast is to offer expert advice about cancer treatment options, wherever that may be.

"It’s worth checking out M. D. Anderson because of its scope of knowledge, research and experience, but it could be you find a researcher or doctor at some other comprehensive cancer center. The key is to find an excellent treatment center and someone who specializes in your type of cancer.”

Upcoming Patient Power webcasts include:

  • Aerosol therapy for pediatric patients
  • Advances in the treatment of lymphoma
  • Advances in the treatment of myeloma
  • Advances in the treatment of esophageal cancer
  • Caregivers: a vital part of the treatment team
  • Clinical trials
  • Advanced cancer and preserving quality of life
  • Advances in the treatment of throat cancer
  • Skull base surgery
  • Advances in the treatment of endocrine cancers

The subtext of the webcast, Schorr says, is the importance of the patient-medical team. “We feature patients and their doctors because it’s about them working together toward a lifesaving goal.”

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© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center