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Tuesday, 3 July, 2001, 23:44 GMT 00:44 UK
Learning about disease from patients
Internet site
Patients will be able to log on to find out about their disease
When you are diagnosed with a serious disease one of the most comforting things can be hearing from others who have gone through the same trauma.

A new internet database, launched on Thursday, will be able to do just that over the web.

The Dipex site will include personal testimonies from patients suffering from diseases.

Dipex - the Database of Individual Patient Experience - will enable people logging on to look at video clips, recorded voices or written accounts from between 40 to 50 different people on their illness.


It will give medical staff a valuable insight into the issues which are really of concern to patients when they face a diagnosis of serious illness

Dr Ann McPherson

At the moment the site has information on hypertension and prostate cancer and organisers hope it will soon have interviews available from bowel, breast and testicular cancer sufferers.

When the database is completed it should offer information on over 3,000 of the major diseases.

Dr Ann McPherson, a researcher at Oxford's Department of Public Health and Primary Care and the medical director of Dipex, said the site would offer advice on the effects of illness and treatments and its impact on a patient's life.

She said it was also hoped that the site, which is supported by the Department of Health, will provide a valuable resource to help train medical staff.

"I think that the launch of Dipex will be of benefit to both patients and health care providers, as it links a wide range of patient experiences with good information on the diseases and will give medical staff a valuable insight into the issues which are really of concern to patients when they face a diagnosis of serious illness," she said.

Dr McPherson said the patients' testimonies had been very carefully selected to ensure that sufferers get the most balanced information possible, with some success stories and others saying how their treatment has failed.

Testimonies

One of those to give his personal testimony to the site is Philip Owens, a 70-year-old prostate cancer sufferer from Tring in Hertfordshire.

Mr Owens said he had beaten the disease 20 years ago, but said he wanted others to be aware of the importance of regular check-ups.

"If you are aware that you can have a problem you can go to your doctor and get it checked out.

"Men can have this problem and need to be aware of it.

"I was aware of it because when I was 16 my father died from it when he was 57. It was a long and unpleasant death, but if you can control it then it needn't be so unpleasant."

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