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The Cancer Help System is now available at Mountain Laurel!



What is Cancer Help?

The Cancer Help Institute says that "Cancer patient education is a critical component of cancer patient care. Cancer patients and their families need timely information to make important treatment and lifestyle decisions. Cancer Help is a clinically proven computer information system that helps cancer professionals meet these information needs. As a result, patients can get the information they need to fight their cancer" (1999, p. 1). Basically, the Cancer Help Computer is a computer with a touch-screen monitor, which houses the Cancer Help program.  Cancer Help is a database which contains the most up-to-date information about all different types of cancer, cancer prevention, cancer screenings, cancer treatments, and cancer research.


The Cancer Help system was developed by cancer patients, for cancer patients and their families. Kathryn O'Keefe, a breast cancer patient, started the Cancer Help Institute in 1991. She and others at the Institute recognized the need for cancer patients to have access to a computer database devoted entirely to cancer, one that was easy to use, comprehensive, and that would be updated and expanded frequently so that it contained the most up-to-date information possible on cancer research and treatments. Kathryn worked closely with the National Cancer Institute, and with medical and technical professionals, to direct the design of the CancerHelp software.

The first Cancer Help Computer was placed at the Kellogg Cancer Care Center in Evanston, Illinois, shortly before Kathryn passed away. CancerHelp systems were later installed at two additional sites in Illinois. Then, in 1994, the Cancer Help Institute participated in a National Cancer Institute study of PDQ's Patient Information File. The results of the study showed that Cancer Help successfully dispersed cancer information to patients and saved health professionals time. Information from the study of the system conducted at The University of Rochester Cancer Center was published in the journal Cancer Practice in 1996. Today, over 230 hospitals, wellness centers, and oncology practices subscribe to Cancer Help.