Cancer Groups Partner to Address Misinformation

A new website created by the American Cancer Society and American Society of Clinical Oncologists is designed to be a one-stop resource for reliable information.

Two leading cancer-research associations have partnered to improve the accessibility of information about the disease online.

The partnership, announced June 1, is an arrangement between the American Cancer Society (ACS) and American Society of Clinical Oncologists (ASCO) to create “one of the largest and most comprehensive online resources for credible cancer information,” according to a release. The new website, cancer.org, combines and updates information from ACS (at the same URL) and ASCO (formerly located at cancer.net).

According to an ASCO spokesperson responding to questions via email, the initiative builds on a pilot project around content that the two organizations launched in 2022. “[We] combined content related to post-treatment (survivorship) care and screening and prevention,” the spokesperson said. “Through this pilot, ASCO and ACS demonstrated that this content sharing was feasible, and it grew from there.” The organizations have also collaborated on the Biden Cancer Moonshot, a White House initiative to reduce the national cancer mortality rate.

A leading goal of the effort was to address the spread of online misinformation about cancer, and keep authoritative information in one place. “There is an overwhelming amount of cancer information online, some of it misinformation, and so, delivering trusted, accurate, and easy-to-find and understand cancer information is critically important,” the ASCO spokesperson said. “This collaboration makes it simpler for people affected by cancer to find a single source of credible, authoritative cancer information online.”

The new site intends to eliminate redundancy and take the Venn diagram of information that’s given out to cancer patients and families.

To develop the site, ACS and ASCO staff are working together on content, with support from ASCO’s Patient Information Editorial board, which includes oncologists from several disciplines as well as nurses, physician assistants, social workers, and patient advocates.

The collaboration also gives ASCO content wider reach, thanks to ACS’s larger public profile, according to an interview with both organization’s leaders at The Cancer Letter. Noting that cancer.net traffic was “a fraction of” cancer.org’s, ASCO CEO Clifford A. Hudis, MD said “to the big credit of ACS, the ASCO content is going to be branded as such. This is a true collaboration.”

ACS CEO Karen E. Knudsen, MBA, PhD, added in the interview that it hopes “eliminate redundancy and take the Venn diagram of information that’s given out to cancer patients and families and see if we can’t just create that single site, or single set of connected sites, that will allow someone to get objective, up-to-date information.”

Though ASCO has been redirecting visitors to cancer.net to the new site since June 3, the revamped cancer.org is still being updated. “We are in the process of integrating specific cancer.net content into existing ACS content, such as information on cancer types,” the ASCO spokesperson said. “Through the collaboration, we will also be able to share the latest research news from ASCO meetings and journals with a large patient audience, as well as co-create new material on topics to be determined moving forward.”

The spokesperson didn’t cite specific metrics for the new site, but said the new structure should better connect people with the cancer information they seek: “Our goal is to help patients to be empowered and informed decision-makers in their care, which supports better health outcomes.”

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