073 – Charles Weaver – Cancer Connect
Dr. Charles Weaver
Dr. Charles Weaver is an oncologist who founded Cancer Connect. Dr. Weaver views researching or working with cancer patients as the most positive for a doctor to do. For him, the work is an opportunity to engage with people who need information, hope and a guide.
Cancer impacts all lives at some point. Whether the diagnosis is our own or for someone close, everyone at some point feels cancer’s arrival. One day, cancer landed in Dr. Weaver’s house. His son developed sarcoma a rare form of cancer.
Charles life’s focus began to change. Though he was a successful oncologist, Dr. Weaver turned to, like anyone, the internet for answers. This process led to a realization that the patient’s experience, once diagnosed, was a maze of uncertain hard to find information. Few if any first-hand accounts and or reliable ways to ask the basic questions existed.
In search of means of improving access for patients, Dr. Weaver discovered the power of social media; specifically, Facebook.
Charles’s son Michael (not the one that had the sarcoma) said, “Wouldn’t it be great if there was a group just for people that have cancer?” Charles wondered aloud, “Would that have helped his other son–who was sitting in the room—when he battled cancer?
The response? “It’d still be helpful. I know you tell me I’m fine, but I still have questions, doubts, etc.”
Cancer Connect was born–the program now links 1000’s in a community that is united by cancer. Over the years the group grows–27000 articles written by experts, access to former cancer patients with experiential advice and knowledge and more. The Cancer Connect community is a special place.
Survivors to Guides
The power of human connection is driving healing. Charles notes that patients often stay in the community after they’ve beaten cancer, why?
In the spirit of paying it forward, cancer survivors remain active to help the next person through. New members get linked to resources quickly with less stress. Discovery of progressive clinical trials becomes a norm. Survivors provide support, guidance, answers and a vital function of validating truths and reducing myths.
It’s counterintuitive, but non-medical SMEs play and powerful role in spread cutting-edge practices. When you think about it, doctors cannot keep up with 40 plus patients a day, while staying on top of all the emerging literature on protocols and standards of care. This problem is only solved by a group effort.
These new advances are promoted and shared by those who possess a passion and drive to find a cure, new treatments, and advancements.
However, in a system that is competitive, loves silos, avoids risk while discouraging the creation of a manageable body of work to explore, Dr. Weaver came along and put his passion into people. That for him has always been the most positive opportunity in medicine.
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