Cancer GRACE – Global Resources for Advancing Cancer Education
GRACE provides easy to understand educational information about a variety of cancers, empowering patients to better understand their care and help ensure they are receiving the best and most current treatments.
GRACE is a nonprofit organization that was developed as a means of improving the overall medical care for cancer patients by democratizing cutting edge information on optimal cancer management and providing it directly to patients. We recognized that while there is an overwhelming amount of new information available to physicians, actually more than they could integrate, patients and their families often have a deep interest in their own care and often have the time and motivation to ensure that they are receiving the best treatment possible.
There are already many websites and other resources that provide some information for patients from health care professionals, but we find that they often provide very bland, nonspecific information that says little beyond extreme generalities (i.e., “Chemotherapy is the main treatment for advanced lung cancer. Your doctor may talk with you about this approach.”). And while there are often discussions of specific treatments on patient and caregiver-moderated websites and other resources, the quality of the information is variable: sometimes great, and sometimes suspect. The potential for misinformation to be perpetuated by people not qualified to discuss medical details is a significant problem.
GRACE is the larger nonprofit entity borne of the website OncTalk, which was started in late 2006 by Dr. West as a means of providing detailed information about best practices in lung cancer directly to the general public in an interactive format, from a known source. Since that time, several thousand unique visitors have sought information from the growing collection of posts on a variety of topics in lung cancer and oncology in general. But the idea behind OncTalk was always to scale beyond one physician and a narrow topic. Proving the principle that the barriers between information for physicians and education for patients could be overcome, OncTalk transitioned into the nonprofit company GRACE in order to expand into a broader range of cancer topics while also providing a greater depth of formats for providing educational materials to members. In addition to blog-format interactive software for online information and discussion, GRACE is introducing audio interviews, web-based lecture materials, and potentially live programs in the future.