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Figure skating champ Scott Hamilton launches chemotherapy education website

NEW YORK, N.Y., December. 2, 2002 -- Olympic gold medalist Scott Hamilton has launched a new Web resource,, to help newly diagnosed cancer patients deal with the emotional and physical challenges associated with chemotherapy treatment and common treatment side effects.

"When I was undergoing chemotherapy, there were no resources like to help patients understand how to deal with chemo and treatment issues," said Hamilton, who this year reached the pivotal five-year milestone of survivorship since being diagnosed with testicular cancer. "My hope is that this Web site will serve as a source of inspiration and empowerment for cancer patients."

This effort is the latest program launched by the Scott Hamilton Cancer Alliance for Research, Education and Survivorship (CARES) Initiative at The Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Center, where Hamilton was treated. The Taussig Cancer Center provides the site's medical content. The site is sponsored by Ortho Biotech Products, marketer of the anemia drug Procrit (epoetin alfa).

In promoting to patients, Hamilton is intent on sharing the lessons he learned during his cancer treatment, such as dealing with fatigue -- a frequent side effect of chemotherapy treatment.

"There are a host of side effects that result from chemotherapy...everything from fatigue to hair loss to nausea. During chemo, I experienced fatigue, but I never brought it up with my doctor," Hamilton said. "I want to help new cancer patients recognize common side effects, which can often mask a more serious problem. For example, fatigue is a symptom of anemia, which can be managed through treatment."

Anemia affects seven out of 10 chemotherapy patients and causes fatigue, tiredness and weakness. This exhaustion can keep patients from having the strength to perform simple everyday tasks, such as cooking a meal or going for a walk, while they are on chemotherapy.

"It was our vision that would address real patient needs and be a resource that newly diagnosed cancer patients could turn to for support," said Ruth Fritskey, MSN, RN, the lead developer of and Program Director of the Patient and Public Cancer Education Program at The Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Center. "In designing the site, we worked with cancer survivors to find out what was important and valuable to them in terms of information." is designed to provide cancer patients with reliable information and empowerment to make informed choices about their treatment. The site offers extensive details on chemotherapy and its side effects in patient-friendly language, and invites patient participation in message boards with other patients. The site features Hamilton's story of his battle with cancer, as well as words of hope and encouragement for cancer patients. Among other features is an anemia self-assessment that patients can complete and discuss with their physician to determine their risk.

"Scott Hamilton set an example as a model cancer survivor, and now he's giving back to others by sharing his experience and offering chemotherapy patients a comprehensive resource they can turn to for valuable information and support," said Ronald Bukowski, M.D., Scott's oncologist at The Taussig Cancer Center. "Through this unique vehicle, we hope to empower, inspire and make a difference in the lives of thousands of cancer patients."

"Ortho Biotech is very proud to be working with Scott Hamilton and The Cleveland Clinic on this important and inspiring initiative," said Gary Reedy, president, Ortho Biotech. "Supporting programs such as is part of our commitment to the cancer community."

As a complement to the information available on the Web site, Ortho Biotech is making a free brochure on managing chemotherapy side effects available by calling 1-866-748-CARE.

The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, founded in 1921, integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education in a private, not-for-profit group practice. Approximately 1,100 full-time physicians at The Cleveland Clinic and Cleveland Clinic Florida represent more than 100 medical specialties and subspecialties. In 2001, there were more than 2.2 million outpatient visits to The Cleveland Clinic. Patients came for treatment from every state and from more than 80 countries. There were nearly 52,000 hospital admissions to The Cleveland Clinic in 2001. Website address:

Source: Ortho Biotech Products

Posted: December 2002