Thursday, September 30, 2010

A non-message

When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, my doctors told me to be very careful of information found on line other than at the American Cancer Society's website (www.cancer.org) and at Breast Cancer.org (www.breastcancer.org). If I need information, I still refer to these sites.

The ACS's website is full of clinical information on all types of cancer in a somewhat dry, factual presentation. Breastcancer.org has clips of the latest news in the breast cancer world with little translations on what it means to the average person. It also has a wealth of information on many facets of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.

But today I found a piece of non-information on their home page (www.breastcancer.org): Their founder was diagnosed with breast cancer. She posted a video about her breast cancer journey. Its a non message. She does not say what her treatment was - we can infer that it did not include chemotherapy because she has her hair - she just says that it was a personal treatment plan that was specific to her and it wouldn't apply to anyone else so she wasn't going to tell us.

Dr. Marisa Weiss, President and Founder, Breastcancer.org from Breastcancer.org on Vimeo.



My first thought at this non-message is that she followed a treatment plan that she would not endorse on her website. The way she addresses it by saying that it was specific to her and therefore she wasn't going to share it because it wouldn't apply to anyone else destroys some of the credibility of her website. If it was that personal and is the first in a wave of truly personalized medicine, wouldn't it be appropriate to talk about it? I have no idea what it was but I find it evasive and I find the evasiveness of her lack of an answer a detraction from the depth of her website.

Its a non-message and a non-answer that should be explained in full. This is a missed opportunity to explain how, from the founder's point of view, that now she is in the same boat as those she has tried to help over the years. A missed opportunity and reduced credibility as well.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good morning! The first thing I thought when you said she didn't post her treatment was that she didn't want to influence what other people did. She's in a very public and influential position and some might want the treatment she has because they think she has the best information. I'm not saying she is right about this just that this is what she might be thinking - and her doctor might be recommending.

Nancy said...

This has always been my favorite site for finding good information. Guess I better check it out. I agree that total openness and honesty would be a better choice since she is in such a public and influential position. We can alll make our own choices, she shouldn't be afraid of influencing us wrongly.