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  • New Avera Breast Cancer Website is the First Customized Site of its Kind

Published on May 15, 2012

New Avera Breast Cancer Website is the First Customized Site of its Kind

SIOUX FALLS (May 15, 2012) – The Avera Breast Center at the Avera Cancer Institute has launched a new online guide to breast cancer created by Vladimir Lange, MD, an expert on helping patients and their families cope with a diagnosis of breast cancer.

Avera’s Be a Survivor website is customized with over 80 short original videos featuring Avera’s own physicians and staff, describing the different types of breast cancer, diagnostic tests and procedures, and treatment options and risks. Local patients also describe their experiences with emotion and honesty. All the video was filmed in the Avera Cancer Institute, located in the Prairie Center on the Avera McKennan campus. Three-D graphics help patients and their loved ones to truly understand everything they need to know about successfully dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis. 

This is the first web resource of its kind that is customized with video from local physicians and patients, Dr. Lange said. The site, www.Avera.org/BeASurvivor, is based on a unique combination of three elements.

The first element is information from an award-winning book by Dr. Lange, “Be a Survivor – Your Guide to Breast Cancer Treatment.” Dr. Lange’s wife, who is also a physician, was diagnosed with breast cancer a number of years ago. Both were overwhelmed by the complexity of the information they had to process. Dr. Lange says, “If two physicians are confused, how is a lay person expected to understand?”

The book was based on their desire to make the journey easier for others. Now in its fifth edition, “Be a Survivor” has been honored with some of the most prestigious awards in the industry, including the International Health and Medical Film Competition Freddie, and the New York Festival World Medal for Interactive Multimedia. It is used by a number of cancer facilities as a first-line patient education resource. Dr. Lange practiced Emergency Medicine, and in 1986 founded Lange Productions, a medical multimedia company dedicated to serving the patient education and provider education needs of the health care community. Today, Lange Productions develops and publishes videos, books, and interactive sites.

Second, the Avera Cancer Institute is a leading provider of innovative breast cancer treatment, and is widely recognized and respected not only in the region, but nationwide. The Avera multidisciplinary team of breast cancer experts who appear on this website ensure that the information is balanced, objective, and state-of-the-art.

Third, dozens of patients and their partners—the women and men who have “been there”—have contributed their candid comments to help others understand their own feelings and frustrations at the difficult time of a cancer diagnosis. Their voices add an invaluable dimension to the learning and empowering message conveyed in the website.

Dr. Lange says the website has a strong combination of clearly written text, enhanced by graphics. “On top of that, it’s supplemented with patient interviews in which people who had a particular treatment or diagnosis share their thoughts and feelings. Viewers also get to see and hear patient education that’s coming from the doctors who will actually provide their care. Through this site, the viewer has a multilayered experience which goes far beyond what can be offered in a book,” Dr. Lange added.

This website is designed to help patients and their families:
• Assemble the best team of experts to ensure successful treatment
• Decide between surgical options
• Understand how genomic testing can determine whether chemotherapy is needed
• Deal with any side effects of chemotherapy
• Learn about new treatments, such as IOeRT and Oncoplastic Surgery 
• Consider appropriate complementary therapies
• Communicate effectively

Being web based makes this resource available to all women throughout the region and beyond, which is especially important to patients and their support persons who live in rural locations.

“One of every eight women will experience breast cancer in her lifetime. Other than skin cancers, it is the single most common cancer that women face,” said Kris Gaster, assistant vice president for Outpatient Cancer Clinics at the Avera Cancer Institute. “We know that accurate information is vital to patients and families when they receive a diagnosis of breast cancer. They want to connect with experts, as well as others who have gone through similar experiences. This website offers a wealth of information at one place, and we are proud to provide this amazing resource for our patients and their families.”

“Having spent considerable time in medical facilities on the East and West coasts, it was stunning to see that Avera offers leading edge services and technology that are the same and in some cases better than the national 'giants’ of medicine,” said Dr. Lange. “This technology is combined with an extremely personal touch. The fact that Avera chose to launch this website shows that they care about the patient – not just her body and mind, but also her heart and soul.”

Visit the new website at www.Avera.org/BeASurvivor. Learn more about the Avera Cancer Institute at www.AveraCancer.org, or contact the Avera Breast Center team at 605-322-3000 or 1-800-657-4377.