Selma Schimmel’s Strategies for Coping with Cancer are Now Available in a Free eBook, The Cancer Concierge®

In In The News by Barbara Jacoby

Vital Options International (VOI) announced that in honor of Founder Selma Schimmel, who died three years ago this month, it has made available The Cancer Concierge® (, a free organizing eBook. The book, which is based on the system Schimmel used to manage her own cancer treatment, provides patients and their loved ones with strategies for minimizing the stress and chaos commonly associated with the cancer experience.

According to Dorothy Breininger (a.k.a. “Dorothy The Organizer”), a best-selling author and problem solver on the A&E show “Hoarders,” “The short and easy book is chockful of useful organizing tips and information I’ve gathered from my years of working closely with Selma.”

Schimmel was diagnosed with breast cancer at 28. A genetic test later revealed she had the BRCA gene mutation, as her grandmother, mother, and sister, Debby Bitticks, who has committed herself to carrying on Schimmel’s work with VOI. Though she had a prophylactic oophorectomy, she was later diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

“In her 30+ years as a cancer patient she knew the importance of keeping the reports from doctors, hospitals, and medical providers in an organized system so that consultations and second opinions are facilitated,” says Bitticks, CEO, Vital Options International. Bitticks’ grandmother, mother, and sister all died in their 50s.

Drawing on her experience as a cancer patient, Schimmel became a tireless advocate for patients, caregivers, and physicians. She launched Vital Options, a cancer communications organization, in 1983. She later started The Group Room, a cancer talk call-in radio show, which eventually became a video-platform for featuring discussions with world leading cancer experts.

VOI recently partnered with healtheo360 ( in an effort to streamline packaging and distributing the latest information on research and treatment to patients. Reporting from the major medical conferences, such as ASCO, ESMO, ASH, and SABCS, heatheo360 provides interviews with key opinion leaders, doctors, and patients, which are videoed and disseminated through VOI and healtheo360’s extensive channels.

Dave Duplay founded healtheo360 in 2012 after his 32-year-old sister-in-law was diagnosed with late-stage breast cancer. “As my brother and his wife, most cancer families are so overwhelmed by the diagnosis they don’t know where to start. The Cancer Concierge®, however, will put them on the right track,” he says.


About Vital Options International

Vital Options International (VOI) is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit cancer communication, education, and advocacy organization with a special mission: Generating global cancer conversations. Today, through its Advocacy in Action®, Vital Conversations, and Living With Cancer platforms, Vital Options International continues to lead the most meaningful panel discussions and engaging one-on-one interviews about clinical trials, treatment advances, psychosocial issues, and access to care – all the vital challenges faced by everyone in the global cancer