CANCER CARE N.S.–Cape Breton Health to Test Cancer EducationProgram Cancer patients, their families and health-care workers in CapeBreton have a new tool designed to help them through the variousstages of the disease. Cancer Care Nova Scotia today, Oct. 7, announced the introductionof the Oncology Interactive Education Series (OIES), aninteractive, computer-based cancer-education program forpatients, their families and health professionals. The program was developed in Canada by Jack Digital Productionsin collaboration with Toronto’s Princess Margaret Hospital. NovaScotia is the first province to test it. It is being piloted infive health districts including Cape Breton District HealthAuthority. “Hearing the words, ‘you have cancer,’ is traumatic,” said Dr.Andrew Padmos, commissioner, Cancer Care Nova Scotia. “There areso many questions, so many fears, many of which can be alleviatedif patients have access to quality cancer information.Information puts people back in the driver’s seat. It helps themunderstand their treatment options and make informed decisions. “For health professionals, access to quality patient educationhelps them support their patients. And, research also indicatesthat it leads to a better understanding of the illness, bettercompliance with treatment and thus better outcomes. OIES willrespond to the needs that patients, families and healthprofessionals have identified and ultimately lead to bettercancer care.” Each of the 24 cancer-type specific titles in the series containsbetween 18 and 25 hours of information. Each topic follows thepatient experience, providing information about diseaseprevention, early detection, symptoms, diagnosis, staging,treatment options, nutrition, pain management, psychosocial careand community support services. It also provides answers to anumber of commonly asked questions. The learning is supported bythree dimensional anatomy, patient experiences and cleargraphics. “Having the OIES program will allow patients and families to bebetter informed about their disease,” said Mona Baryluk,director, Cape Breton Cancer Centre. “This interactive programenables patients to learn at their own pace and in their owntime. Supported by volunteers, OIES supplements the one-to-oneeducation patients and families receive as part of their careduring their cancer journey.” OIES is designed to meet the need of a broad range of learningstyles, computer experience, literacy levels and language skills.Trained volunteers will help patients, families and healthprofessionals to use OIES. Patients who have access to a computermay also borrow titles from the program’s lending libraries. OIES will be evaluated to measure the use of the tool bypatients, families and health professionals, as well as theirsatisfaction with it. The evaluation will also seek healthprofessionals’ opinions on how best to use the teaching tool aspart of the care process. The decision to implement OIES acrossthe province will be based on evaluation results, which areexpected to be available in June 2005. Cancer Care Nova Scotia is a program of the Department of Health,created to reduce the burden of cancer on individuals, familiesand the health-care system through prevention, screening,education and research.