photograph: Eric Kiel
Like ancient mariners embarking on voyages into the unknown, cancer patients often find themselves setting out on a course filled with apprehension. They are eager to know where they can find reliable, accurate information.
Ketchum-based Cancer Consultants, Inc., founded by Dr. Charles Weaver, is the dominant supplier of cancer information on the Web. Designed for both professionals and patients, it is a comprehensive and fully accessible resource.
The online Patient Resource Center is available to help cancer patients formulate their own questions for their doctors, learn about the disease itself, and know what their treatment options are. Healthy individuals are offered information on screening and prevention strategies. The site also posts updates on clinical trials, links to supportive chat groups, and a Member Center that provides e-mail notification of breaking cancer news.
Dr. Weaver comes to this venture with heady credentials—University of Washington Medical School, residency at University of Pennsylvania, the National Institutes of Health, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and a five-year stint as Chief Medical Officer at Response Oncology, Inc. Motivated by both the desire to use the Internet to benefit cancer patients and the desire to find a way to live and work in the mountains of Idaho, Weaver was fascinated by the potential of using this means to reach thousands of people, giving them the information they need to make informed decisions about their treatment.
He speaks with clear conviction about the importance of being able to access this information, and he takes the stand—controversial among some of his colleagues—that there is no such thing as too much knowledge.
Weaver believes it is better for people to have all available information—even if this results in a patient’s decision, after reviewing the success rate of a particular treatment, not to pursue it. He emphasizes that, as difficult as a journey though cancer may be, it is empowering to be an informed participant in the decision-making process along the way.