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March  2009 Website of the Month

BT Buddies

IMAGE:  BT Buddies is a new brain tumor information and support web resource from  the UK. BT Buddies is a new brain tumor information and support web resource from  the UK.

Its most often in the news that many of us hear about brain tumors.  It can be a celebrity who is diagnosed with a brain tumor  like Gene Siskel, a sports figure like Bobby Murcer or Tug McGraw or most recently Ted Kennedy.  Sometimes its people in our own neighborhoods who who we hear about and other times it is our own friends or family members who are affected.

Brain tumors are the growth of abnormal cells in the tissues of the brain, they can be benign or malignant. Primary brain tumors occur in brain tissue, secondary brain tumors spread to brain tissue from other parts of the body. Tumors can directly destroy brain cells, however, they can also indirectly damage cells by producing inflammation, compressing other parts of the brain as the tumor grows, causing swelling in the brain, and increasing pressure within the skull. Gliomas are thought to be derived from glial cells such as astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, and ependymal cells. Brain tumors can happen at any age.

The difficulties associated with having a brain tumor diagnosis and survival from that becomes more intense when it affects us personally and as with other serious conditions, people often turn to the web to get information and support.  What happens, however, when specific information is not readily available bring us to our site of the month for March.  It is also another lesson how one person at the grass roots level can work to make a difference.

Our website of the month is a brand new UK site called BT Buddies, which was launched on March 1.  It was started by Natalya Jagger, after her best friend's daughter, Rose McGill, was diagnosed with Giloblastoma Multiforme, a high-grade or malignant tumor.  Like a number of sites we have featured here, the creation of BT Buddies came from the frustration of Ms. Jagger trying to find relevant information about high-grade brain tumors and support that applied to the UK.  Sadly Rose passed away but Ms. Jagger was motivated to start BT Buddies.

BT Buddies is an excellent example of creating an easy to navigate site that gives information in clear language and it is a valuable resource especially as a first-stop for someone seeking initially seeking knowledge about brain tumors and as a resource for hope.

Sections include: What is a High-Grade Brain Tumor, and Brain Tumor Types, both are effective at helping a visitor sort out the difference between tumor types and malignant or non-malignant tumors.

Another section: High-Grade Brain Tumor Pathway, breaks the difficult aspects of a brain tumor down into stages.  Those steps are in clickable sub-sections and include: symptoms, tests, diagnosis, surgery, chemotherapy and others.  Two poignant and valuable subsections are: When Nothing More Can be Done, and When a Loved One Passes Away - the latter section includes a downloadable PDF entitled: When Caring Comes to an End, from the organization Caregeivers UK.  There is also a Hospice and Palliative Care section on BT Buddies.

Other sections include: Treatment Information, which includes clickable subsections on: Conventional Treatments, Complementary (or alternative) Treatments, Seeking a Second Opinion, UK neurological and oncology treatment centres and even a sections about Brain Tumor Treatments and Research in the USA.  Your Healthcare Team, is specifically tailored to UK visitors but visitors from other countries will be interested in how treatment is processed and delivered there.

Another valuable section is: Stories of Hope, a collection of personal stories from brain tumor survivors and an important resource for people newly diagnosed with a brain tumor as well as family and friends of people affected. Giving hope is always an important service of sites like this and visitors can read a number of personal narratives of people who have survived brain tumors as well as updates on how they are doing.

Wisely, BT Buddies includes information from other sources such as:, The National Brain Tumor Society and the World Health Organization, among other authoritative sources for information.

There is a good selection of links to UK brain tumor web resources and support groups as well as links to information outside the UK.  BT Buddies  also has a forum section with a message board.

BT Buddies is aimed at the UK (we get quite a lot of UK visitors here at and we are happy to make them aware of this site), but it is a valuable resource no matter where you are visiting from for anyone seeking information about brain tumors.  It's another great example of someone taking the lead to fill a void on the web and out of that comes a great website.  

There is a lot more to discover on BT Buddies so make sure you pay them a visit and support this new web resource - they are just a CLICK away and don't forget to bookmark their site.

Other Brain Tumor Related Websites

Some good web resources about brain tumors and support.

RoseBuddies is the fundraising website dedicated to the memory of Rose McGill who sadly passed away from a brain tumor in 2006.  Funds collected are earmarked for Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology Charitable Funds and Clatterbridge Cancer Research, in the UK. 
American Brain Tumor Association
National Brain Tumor Association
International Brain Tumor Alliance
Children's Brain Tumor Foundation
Kristen's Final Hours - A Special Parting is a site that has been maintained on the web since 1997.  Sadly Kristen Kenzig passed away from a Pontine Brain Stem Giloma in 1997 and this website was established by her father and contains a moving narrative of her passing.
Brain Tumor Web Resources

Disclaimer:  Reference in this web site to any specific organizations, commercial products, process, service, manufacturer, or company does not constitute its endorsement or recommendation by Northeast Center for Special Care.


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