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Patients diagnosed with cancer are often prescribed drugs they know little about, and researching the risks and benefits can be daunting, if not impossible, in the time frame a cancer patient has to work with. It's too late for one set of parents whose son died of brain cancer in 1999, but they hope to help other families with a website they launched on Jan. 1.
Michael and Rafaele Horwin's 2-year-old son Alexander http://www.ouralexander.org/ died of brain cancer in 1999 after doctors administered what they said was the best treatment available. Despite the risk of side effects including infection, heart damage, lung damage, deafness, infertility and a second cancer, just to name a few, they trusted the doctors when they said this was the best option. Alexander's cancer quickly spread through his entire body, and he died four months later. The Horwins were horrified and angry to later discover studies that showed the same chemotherapy had hastened the deaths of hundreds of other children the same age with the same brain cancer.
Had they found this research earlier, they would have made different treatment choices, the Horwins believe. They hope Cancer Monthly http://www.cancermonthly.com/, a free site they developed with friends, will help patients compare treatment options and find out whether they improved previous patients' quality of life.
"It's not rocket science," Michael Horwin said. "We take medical literature - published studies - and present it in a language that a cancer patient can understand. Now a cancer patient can compare treatment based on actual clinical results."
- "Posting Straight Facts on Cancer," Kristen Philipkoski, WiredNews.com http://www.wired.com, January 3, 2005, http://www.wired.com/news/medtech/0,1286,66130,00.html
File Name: kristen_philipkoski20050103
Post Date: January 4, 2005 at 7:35 AM CST; 1335 GMT