(OTTAWA, June 8, 2017) – Today, Be the Choice launched an innovative online fully bilingual decision tree to help breast cancer patients and their loved ones better understand treatment options. Following a diagnosis, patients can access this one-of-a-kind tool at bethechoice.org and easily move through a series of treatment pathways and decision points. Development of the decision tree was funded through the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA's) Community Investment Program, Health Canada, Heritage Canada and private donations.
Be the Choice was founded by breast cancer survivors Melanie Adrian and Robin Beasley after they became intimately familiar with the cancer health-care system in Ontario. The tool was designed to help users learn the basics about breast cancer, understand treatment possibilities, identify what a comprehensive treatment path might look like, and connect with a larger community. The decision tree also helps enhance conversations between patients and their health-care providers.
- The decision tree was designed by both medical professionals and patients. It was co-authored by oncologists, surgical oncologists, plastic surgeons and breast cancer patients. It was thoroughly reviewed by a team of medical specialists and cancer survivors.
- The tree is written in patient-friendly language and all pages can be saved, shared or printed.
- The tree explains all the treatment options available, particularly in the surgical realm, it neither infantilizes nor overwhelms patients.
- The tree brings together information from all the medical sub specialties including medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgical oncologists and plastic surgeons, in one, easy to access, place.
- The tree brings together value-neutral resources that inform breast cancer patients of the sequence of possible treatments for disease management.
“When I was diagnosed with breast cancer I was overwhelmed by the reality of the diagnosis and the urgency of the life-changing decisions I had to make,” says Melanie Adrian, executive director of Be the Choice. “The decision tree is designed to be a soft place to land, especially for the newly diagnosed and their loved ones. We hope it will help all patients better navigate their options, understand how treatment decisions are connected, and empower them to make the choices that are right for them.”
“At CIRA we want to build a better online Canada and one of the ways we do this is through our Community Investment Program,” says David Fowler, vice-president of marketing and communications at CIRA. “We are so proud to support Be the Choice and this decision tree and to help empower breast cancer patients. We believe this digital and easily accessible tool will change many lives for the better.”
About Be the Choice:
Be the Choice is a non-profit organization based in Ottawa and committed to making breast cancer information accessible and participatory. We have created a person-centred treatment decision support tool that aims to enable all women and men diagnosed with breast cancer and their loved ones better navigate the labyrinth of medical terminology, decisional events, and treatment pathways that accompany a diagnosis.
About CIRA's Community Investment Program:
Through the Community Investment Program, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) funds projects that demonstrate the capacity to build a better online Canada. The CIRA team manages Canada's country code top-level domain on behalf of all Canadians. A member-based organization, CIRA represents the interests of Canada's Internet community internationally. To date, the Community Investment Program has supported 78 innovative projects across Canada with grants totalling $3.2 million.