About Steve Dunn’s CancerGuide

What is CancerGuide?

CancerGuide is a cancer information page written by Steve Dunn, a fellow patient.

I strongly believe, and indeed I know from personal experience, that information can save your life. This page is dedicated to helping cancer patients find the best treatment for their disease by finding, and understanding, the best and latest information on their disease. The focus here is on technical information.

While this page does offer links to the best cancer information sources on the net, what makes this page special is no holds barred help and information about things on and off the net from someone who’s been been where you are now. The information on this page is information with a point of view, not information sanitized by committee!

Why no Pretty Pictures?

CancerGuide is not about entertaining you with slick graphics. It’s about guiding you to information that could save your life. I have quite deliberately decided to devote all my energies to providing the best possible content, rather than spending time on fancy graphics. I do expect to add some graphics in the future, but these will be technical illustrations to help you understand things like medical statistics, not pretty pictures.

Who is Steve Dunn?

First of all, I’m a patient, not a health professional. I was diagnosed with advanced kidney cancer in late 1989, at the age of 32. Only a month after surgery, it was discovered that my cancer had spread to both lungs and nine bones in my spine. At this point the situation was desperate with no standard treatment, and dismal long term statistics. Early on, some incidents with my doctors, and some help from a friend convinced me that if I wanted the best treatment, it was up to me to find it. I bumbled and stumbled my way through researching my options and through the system, but ultimately I was able to make a good choice of a promising experimental therapy, high dose Interleukin-2 combined with Interferon. To paraphrase Stephen Jay Gould, I found the right information, asked the right questions, and enrolled in the right trial, and it saved my life. If you want more details about my battle with cancer, read my Story in CancerGuide’s Inspirational Stories section.

A little personal information about me – my degree is in Biology and Math. I worked as a computer programmer for many years, the last 14 for a company which engineers medical devices. My specialty is algorithms. I am an avid outdoorsperson and regularly climb high mountains here in Colorado. I also enjoy cross country skiing, ski mountaineering, and downhill skiing. Of course, I spend a great deal of time at the computer supporting CancerGuide. I am divorced, but recently became a father – you can read more about that towards the end of my story. Some of my personality traits: I am extremely analytical, a bit philosophical, and a natural skeptic. I am not fond of “authority.” I believe in thinking for myself. I am not even faintly religious. I can be determined to the point of stubbornness. I am not a leader type, and I am not charismatic in any way. My place in life is to impart information and advice: not to dictate, or to make decisions for others.

What is the History of CancerGuide and What Was my Motivation?

After I recovered, I wanted to help other patients learn to find information that might save their lives. No one should ever again have to stumble blindly through the darkness the way I did. That is why I put together this page. My first attempt to help others was to teach a course on cancer clinical trials to patients here in Colorado. Then I found the Internet, which was new then, and developed a series of FAQ files on cancer I would email to people on the Newsgroups who had questions. Many of the pages here are derived from my FAQ files. In sum, CancerGuide began as the natural next step in presenting some of the information I’ve accumulated over the years, and it was one of the earliest of the cancer websites. It continues to evolve.

Who Supports CancerGuide?

First you should know that CancerGuide does not accept advertising. CancerGuide does not sell anything . CancerGuide is strictly a non-profit service. CancerGuide is a dot-non-com.

For many years I worked on CancerGuide in my “spare” time while holding down a full-time job. I always wished I could devote myself to it on a full time basis. Sometimes dreams come true! I have received a very generous grant from the Fischer Family Trust which enables me to work on CancerGuide full time for 2002 through 2004!

Web space for CancerGuide is donated by ACOR, the Association of Cancer Online Resources. ACOR has created the most effective and vital on-line cancer support communities on the Internet (including KIDNEY-ONC the kidney cancer mailing list which I manage), and also hosts high quality non-profit cancer related websites.

I am not the only contributor to CancerGuide’s content. Many others have shared their stories and their knowledge and wisdom. So these contributors also support CancerGuide and make it what it is.

This CancerGuide Page By Steve Dunn. © Steve Dunn
Page Created: 1996, Last Updated: April 11, 2004