Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer

Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer

Where on the web Tips of all sorts – cancer http://www.tipsofallsorts.com/cancer.html With over 800 million pages on the web, including a million on h...

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Where on the web Tips of all sorts – cancer http://www.tipsofallsorts.com/cancer.html With over 800 million pages on the web, including a million on health and related subjects, it is inevitable that such a site would come up. The home page, www.tipsofallsorts.com gives interested readers, all sorts of tips on many vastly different things. Information of the different types of coffee, the Nicholas effect [worth a look], and how to say “I love you” in all the languages possible. With this variety, it is not surprising that cancer features as a subset of this website. This site is obviously meant for the layperson; readers of The Lancet Oncology are unlikely to use the site for scientific information. Some common cancers – 19 of them – are

described and explained in terms that are easy to understand. However, there are many alternative sites which give similar information covered in greater depth. There are no references to the different modes of therapy for various cancers. There is a vast amount of material on complementary medicine, from books to websites, testimonials, and nutritional therapies, and I have concerns that

this biased representation may, in fact, be dangerous. For instance, one of the recommended books explains why wearing a bra leads to breast cancer! The ‘quotes to inspire’ too, are taken from such books. You will learn the significance of water, white tea, and vitamin C as anticancer agents. Noni juice extractors and other items, with the appropriate links, are available for sale. In a ‘how to’ site such as this, I would have expected tips on how to deal with chemotherapy or how to disguise hair loss. So I’m sorry to say that if you’re looking for sound advice, you should probably look somewhere else. Sanjay A Pai

Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer http://www.mascc.org The Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer (MASCC)’s website can be summed up curtly as bland yet informative. Despite the non-elaborate design, MASCC does manage to get its message across and provides a valuable forum for those interested not only in cancer, but also in the manifestations of the disease in the very broadest sense. MASCC’s aims are to optimise all forms and aspects of supportive care in cancer patients, regardless of stage of disease; this is a mission derived from the widespread feeling that supportive care of cancer patients, though difficult to define, lags far behind the aggressive tumourdirected strategies pursued by surgeons, radiotherapists and medical oncologists. In identifying its aims on the site, MASCC is very careful to point out distinctions between palliative and supportive care, something that one

THE LANCET Oncology Vol 2 July 2001

could say is open to debate. However, it does concede that palliative care is an essential part of supportive care, and should be viewed as the internal and psychosocial treatment that applies to cancer patients in all phases of the disease. MASCC’s first attempts to bring together those interested in oncological supportive care, via meetings that took place in Switzerland, Belgium, Baltimore (USA) and elsewhere, are described in the site’s history section, which is somewhat superfluous. Interested parties took further steps by creating MASCC, which through the website has succeeded in providing the common ground where people with different expertise and interests can meet to improve the support of patients with cancer, through mutual education and common research. MASCC’s future plans to achieve its goals are detailed; primarily these involve organising meetings where

both specialised and more general information will be exchanged. MASCC is also sponsoring the new journal Supportive Care in Cancer, which is open to contributions in any field on supportive care in oncology; a link is provided taking the reader directly to the on-line edition, which also provides details on paper submission. Furthermore, working groups have been set up in areas such as anti-emetics and mucositis, and more about these, including links to the Chairpersons of each group and summaries of each group’s goals, can be accessed. There are 11 working groups, covering important areas of patient management, from pain and infections to metabolism and nutrition. Indeed, in addition to each Chairperson, the website holds contact details for each MASCC member. A publications page, which should it be fully searchable, is currently under development. Alexandra Kibble

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