Demystifying Cancer: Physicians, Cancer Researchers, and Web Experts Offer Two-day Symposium for Patients, Families, Health Care Providers, and the General Public

March 23, 1999

Tags: Weinberg LabCancerAwards + Announcements

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — To help people decipher the bewildering maze of cancer information on the World Wide Web and to empower patients and families to work as effective partners with their health care providers, four Boston-based organizations are offering a unique two-day program called "Demystifying Cancer." This program will take place at BostonÍs Museum of Science on Friday and Saturday, April 9 and 10.

"Demystifying Cancer" is sponsored jointly by the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, the Museum of Science, and the American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics (ASLME). The full program will be available to 300 people who register in advance to attend all sessions (the registration fee of $10 includes parking on Friday night and parking and lunch on Saturday). In addition, the collaborating organizations will host free public lectures at the Museum on Friday night and special demonstrations for the museum-going public on Saturday afternoon. The speakers for the event include:

• Ivor Benjamin, M.D., co-Editor-in-Chief of OncoLink, one of the countryÍs most respected Web sites for cancer information;

• Robert A. Weinberg, Ph.D., Member of the Whitehead Institute and winner of the 1997 National Medal of Science;

• Bruce Chabner, M.D., Clinical Director of the Cancer Center at MGH;

• Jeffrey Clark, M.D., Medical Director of the Clinical Protocol Office, MGH Cancer Center;

• Thomas J. Lynch, M.D., Oncologist, MGH Cancer Center;

• Barrie Cassileth, Ph.D., author of The Alternative Medicine Handbook: The Complete Reference Guide to Alternative and Complementary Therapies.

The public lectures, titled "Understanding Cancer Research," will begin at 7 p.m. on Friday night. Drs. Weinberg and Chabner will describe current research on the origins of cancer and explore how that knowledge is used as a basis for the development of new cancer therapies.

At the symposium for registered participants on Saturday, speakers will focus on current therapies, clinical trials, new horizons in clinical research, and how to navigate the Internet to find accurate and timely information about cancer. (Dr. BenjaminÍs navigation session will be repeated for the museum-going public on Saturday afternoon). Following Dr. CassilethÍs presentation at lunch, a panel of experts„including a genetic counselor, a psychiatrist who specializes in helping parents of young cancer patients, an oncology nurse, and a cancer survivor„will provide various perspectives on "Coping with Cancer."

To enhance the outreach program, MGH, the Whitehead Institute, the Museum of Science, and ASLME have invited six other institutions to join them in providing public information displays at the Museum from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Staffed by medical professionals, information specialists, and volunteers, these displays will offer brochures on the prevention and treatment of many different types of cancer, as well as Web access and other resources. Participants include the Cancer Resource Room at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center; the Blum Patient Family Resource Center & Satellites at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; the Beth Israel-Deaconess Learning Center; The Bradley Resource Room at New England Medical Center; the Massachusetts Department of Public Health; and the National Cancer Institute, Cancer Information Service. In addition, representatives from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners Consumer Health Reference Center will shed light on how to research medical topics through the local public library.

"Demystifying Cancer" is supported by Genzyme and Genzyme Molecular Oncology, the Institute for Civil Society, The Kenneth B. Schwartz Center, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Reynolds-DeWalt Printing, Sametz Blackstone Associates, MGH, the Whitehead Institute, the Museum of Science, and ASLME.

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