DEAR ABBY: Receiving a diagnosis of a serious medical condition can be confusing and overwhelming. Because there is more than one "right" treatment for many medical conditions, it is important that patients gather information so they can work with doctors and other providers to map out which course of treatment to follow. While most people want more information, many do not know where to find information that's based on the best scientific research.
A reliable resource is now available free of charge -- a booklet titled, "Now You Have a Diagnosis: What's Next?" It is the result of a partnership between the Federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Kanter Family Foundation. It explains how to find important information and how to use that information in evaluating the risks and benefits of various treatments.
This valuable resource could help your readers to locate the vital information they need to make wise decisions. Personal copies can be obtained by calling AHRQ's toll-free number: 1-800-358-9295, TDD 1-888-586-6340, or visiting the Web site: www.AHRQ.gov. -- ELLEN M. McGOVERN, PUBLIC RELATIONS AND MARKETING, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
DEAR ELLEN: Thank you for the helpful information. While no one looks forward to getting bad news about a serious illness, having a weapon in one's arsenal like the booklet you describe can be both a comfort and an empowering tool in fighting the disease.