THUNDER BAY – Health – The Regional Cancer Program at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre has launched My Cancer Guide, an online resource customized for patients and families of Regional Cancer Care Northwest (RCC NW). My Cancer Guide is an online educational tool designed for people living with cancer. This tool provides information relevant to diagnosis, treatment and support services, helping people make practical and difficult decisions throughout their cancer journey. Information is provided on nine cancer sites: bladder, blood, breast, colorectal, lung, melanoma, ovarian, prostate and thyroid.
“As a newly diagnosed cancer patient or as someone waiting for a diagnosis, it can really ease your mind when you have information that helps you understand your situation,” says Kathy Forbes, Patient and Family Advisor and member of the Patient and Family Cancer Partnership.
My Cancer Guide is user-friendly and if a patient is not a computer user, their family, caregiver, or support person can access information for them. My Cancer Guide not only provides facts about cancer, but adds meaning by customizing information for local and regional patients such as practical information about the Cancer Centre and Health Sciences Centre and services that are offered in Northwestern Ontario.
My Cancer Guide has been reviewed by a team of physicians, healthcare providers, and volunteers dedicated to Regional Cancer Care Northwest. Its content ensures that patients and families have access to information that follows evidence-based guidelines and addresses a comprehensive range of practical, psychosocial, medical, emotional, financial, family, and spiritual needs across the cancer journey. Cancer patients are introduced to My Cancer Guide at Cancer Centre appointments and during educational opportunities throughout their cancer journey.
At any time during treatment, patients can receive My Cancer Guide information from physicians, nurses, radiation therapists, clerical, and supportive care staff. The cancer care team plays a role in helping patients navigate the website and find appropriate information by completing a one-page disease-specific information sheet that patients can take home. The information sheet supports and summarizes the patient appointment, captures diagnosis information, details next steps, and provides tailored access to My Cancer Guide online. As Kathy Forbes says, “That first appointment is a whopper. It’s good to know that when you get home you can review what was said and find information to help understand and to help make decisions.”
My Cancer Guide will help patients:
- find information to guide decision-making, illness management, follow-up care, and life with cancer
- build a sense of competence, empowerment and control
- communicate with family, work, and their care team
- find practical details like parking, directions, and hours
- connect to appropriate support services at different stages in their journey
- deal with financial concerns
- increase confidence to self-manage between visits
Patients can rest assured that this new online educational tool does not replace speaking to the cancer care team about concerns. My Cancer Guide complements the cancer care team’s efforts by giving cancer patients and their families the information they need to make practical decisions throughout treatment and recovery.
“We are extremely pleased to support My Cancer Guide through our community’s contributions to the Northern Cancer Fund,” says Brian McKinnon, Past Chair, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation. “Today, more people are living with cancer than dying from it and we know that this new tool will assist patients and families as they embark on their cancer journey.”