BY MARK SCHOLZ, MD
In 2016, the PCRI will celebrate its 20th
anniversary. The PCRI, founded in 1996
by Dr. Stephen Strum and I, was originally funded by a generous grant from the
Daniel Freeman Medical Foundation. This
initial grant was spent on hiring Harry Pinchot, aka Helpline Harry. The
helpline format adopted at the PCRI was modeled after the work of Lloyd Ney,
the founder of PAACT. PCRI’s helpline presently has four counselors: Jonathan Levy, Silvia Cooper, Bob Each and
Charles Kokaska, all who provide unbiased prostate-cancer-related information,
free of charge to the public.
PCRI started doing patient-focused
conferences in 2006. Since 2006 this has become an annual meeting. The conference
has grown in stature through the years by attracting world-renowned prostate
cancer experts who are invited to present the latest information on optimal
diagnosis and therapy. DVDs of the presentations are distributed throughout the
world. Partly due to the wonderful moderating presence of Dr. Mark Moyad, the
conference has grown to be the largest patient-orientated prostate cancer
conference in the world.
PCRI makes its biggest impact via its online
presence by providing articles and blogs authored by prostate cancer experts
from every specialty. But more importantly, PCRI is presently in entering into
a new phase, the development of the SHADEs of Blue organizational format, a
methodology to help patients sort through the overwhelming amount of information
by reducing it into a more manageable bite-sized format. As we all know, the internet has solved the
problem of getting access to information.
Now the biggest problem patients face is information overload. How does
one sort through the deluge of unfiltered information?
The development of the SHADES of Blue program
will address this problem of information overload by segregating prostate
cancer information into five large categories. Three are for the
newly-diagnosed, Low, Intermediate and High-Risk, and two are for men with
either relapsed disease or metastatic, hormone-resistant disease. The SHADES
program is a big undertaking for a small organization like the PCRI, especially
considering that we have expanded our conference schedule by now doing two
conferences annually with the addition of the Mid-Year Update in March.
Looking to the immediate future, I never been
more excited by the PCRI’s potential for making a positive impact in the lives
of men with prostate cancer. If my suspicious are correct, PCRI’s
visibility is truly on the verge of taking a big jump.