Every Movember some of our favorite celebrities grow killer mustaches for a cause, saving lives! We were excited to learn about two female entrepreneurs in the medical field who chose to debut their oncology website, OncoGambit, this month with the goal of helping both men and women with their treatment plans.
Cancer affects everyone: your family, friends, and even your favorite stars! Movember started in Australia with the idea of individuals growing mustaches throughout the month of November to help raise money for cancer research, and has quickly grown to an international phenomenon. Some of our favorite stars rocking a wicked mustache this month include Movember Ambassadors like Foster the People, James Franco, Bryan Cranston, Morgan Spurlock, Snoop Dogg, Kevin Connolly, Brody Jenner, and more!
With recent news of celebrities fighting cancer, like Shannon Doherty’s public and inspiring battle with breast cancer, celebrities have really helped to raise awareness for this cause. Shannon has been sharing her experience with fans on Instagram and showing thousands of fans what the experience of undergoing treatment is really like. This past weekend, the cast paid tribute to Doherty at a ‘90210 Reunion’ at RewindCon in Bloomingdale, Illinois. While Doherty couldn’t attend because she was undergoing chemotherapy, her castmates including Tori Spelling, Jennie Garth, Jason Priestley, Gabrielle Carteris, Christine Elise and Vincent Young took to social media in support!
Even Canadian Singer, Michael Bublé recently revealed the diagnosis of his 3-year old son on his Facebook page to spread awareness for children in treatment and revealed that his son is being treated in the U.S.
The bottom line is that cancer transcends borders and does not discriminate – young or old, race or religious view, celebrity or neighbor – and every one needs access to the proper information about how to proceed with treatment. Press Pass LA sat down with Dr. Thehang Luu (Hannah), MD and Laura Bourdeanu, NP, PhD, to discuss OncoGambit. The site aims to fill the current gaps in the healthcare system by utilizing a state-of-the-art web based technology that allows patients to compare their treatment to expert recommendations in real-time.
PPLA: What inspired you to launch OncoGambit?
Dr. Luu: Our goal with creating our site was to help create a quick and easy way for patients to get information regarding their cancer and their treatment options. We are both experienced Oncology healthcare providers and have seen lots of confusion and worry from cancer patients and their families. This genuinely concerned us because patients usually came to us highly anxious about their treatments and seem to be more worried about the treatment than they were about their disease. If patients are comfortable with their treatment plan, and have peace of mind with the process, they’ll be able to focus on their recovery and manage their side effects better. We believe that by providing education about their cancer treatment, patients become active participants in their care and feel more in control.
PPLA: Technology plays such a huge role in our day-to-day lives and in a wide range of healthcare advances. How does OncoGambit utilize technology and what are the steps to use the platform?
Dr. Luu: When a patient visits OncoGambit, they’re prompted to answer specific questions that pertain to them and their cancer, such as age, the stage, molecular biology and features of the tumor, which should be provided to them by their own oncologist. Once this information is provided, they get a personalized report (a one-time cost of $49.99). That report will include details that are easy to understand, in order to help that particular patient, based on their specific circumstances. It’s really that simple! It’s important to note that the patient must have this detailed information from their oncologist or surgeon before they go to our website. The report is meant to confirm their treatment plan and guide the patient in their discussion with their oncologist, similar to a second opinion. It can also save patients the added expenses, wait time, and stress of having to get multiple opinions before proceeding with a treatment plan.
PPLA: How is your website different from say Google-ing your cancer diagnosis or going on Web MD?
Dr. Luu: WebMD is a highly visited site by cancer patients seeking information, as well as sites including the American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen, and National Health Institute (NCI), MD Anderson. However, these sites only offer general information about the cancer such as the anatomy of the organ and cancer type. Patients will often find information about common types of chemotherapy for a particular type of cancer, but they won’t share specifics about how long the treatment will last or personalized doses and frequency a particular patient should expect to receive. Ultimately, the difference between us and any competitive online resource is that our reports demystify how cancer treatments are derived for the patients and lay out the plan in a way that is easy to understand.
PPLA: Why would doctors recommend this platform to patients?
Dr. Luu: The treatment process can be uncertain and most patients will struggle with anxiety and depression along the way. By utilizing and recommending our platform, the oncologist is showing that they believe they are in this fight together and ‘two or more heads are better than one.’ If a patient feels as if their oncologist is attacking their cancer as a team, they will be more likely to follow guidelines, take their medication, make their appointments, so that they have the best chance of survival. Everyone being informed and everyone feeling like they have access to the best information that is easy-to-understand and follow, when it comes to treatments. In order to win the fight against cancer, it’s going to take everyone!
Learn more about the OncoGambit launch.
Support Movember Foundation.