October is Psoriasis Awareness Month

    New Online Psoriasis Community Launches Quality of Life Assessment

    TORONTO, Oct. 24 /CNW/ - How can individuals suffering from a chronic
condition find the information and emotional support that will help them face
another day? They turn to the only people who truly understand what it's like
to walk a mile in their shoes: their peers. They can now turn to
www.psoriasissupport.ca, home of Psoriasis Support Canada (PSC).
    This unique online community is designed specifically to foster
communication, support and understanding to empower and inspire individuals to
take an active role in managing their psoriasis - a condition which affects
over one million Canadians.
    Support doesn't end there. To ensure that the needs of psoriasis
sufferers continue to be addressed, PSC is conducting the first comprehensive
and nationwide Quality of Life Assessment of Canadians with Psoriasis targeted
to individuals with moderate to severe psoriasis. The study was developed in
collaboration with two Canadian dermatologists, Dr. Norman Wasel and Dr. Yves
Poulin, and can be accessed at www.psoriasissupport.ca this November. Results
will be used to fill gaps in understanding psoriasis and how it affects
patients with the most severe forms of this debilitating disease.
    "I am pleased to be involved with Psoriasis Support Canada, as there is a
definite need for support and education that goes beyond a dermatologist's
office," explains Dr. Norman Wasel, an Edmonton-based dermatologist who is a
member of the Psoriasis Support Canada material review board. "This program,
along with its important initiatives like the study, can really make an impact
on the psoriasis community. Many people with psoriasis have a difficult
journey ahead of them - they need to feel empowered to seek credible
information to help them through tough times."
    Psoriasis is a chronic (recurring) skin disease characterized by redness,
inflammation and scaling. Due to the physical and emotional impact of this
condition, low self-esteem, depression, stress, anxiety and feelings of
helplessness are common, and in severe cases may sometimes cause them to give
up on life. In fact, suicide rates among people with psoriasis are three times
higher than the general population.(1)(2) A study in which the mental,
emotional and physical tolls of several chronic diseases were compared
revealed that only depression and congestive heart failure had more profound
mental and physical effects on their sufferers than did psoriasis.(3)
    In addition to launching the online community with tips, information and
an active message board for individuals to share their thoughts, PSC recently
published a medically-reviewed educational brochure: The Family Guide to
Psoriasis, which provides comprehensive information and tips on managing this
chronic condition, available to download for free at www.psoriasissupport.ca.
    Psoriasis patients have already taken note. "It's nice to know that there
are other people who understand what it's like to live with this condition
every day," says Montrealer Charlie McKenzie, who has suffered from severe
psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis for nearly 15 years. "To be part of an open
and accessible online community where we can hear people's stories, share
common experiences, read about the latest news and have 24/7 access to a wide
range of resources that can actually help, believe me, is no little thing -
it's a GREAT thing."
    "And it's about time," McKenzie adds.
    To access Psoriasis Support Canada's comprehensive online community and
to order a copy of The Family Guide to Psoriasis, please visit

    About Psoriasis Support Canada

    Psoriasis Support Canada began in response to an ever-growing need for
support resources for people living with psoriasis in Canada and following
considerable research into the most effective patient-driven psoriasis
organizations. Psoriasis Support Canada has been able to draw upon the advice,
information and effectiveness of other support programs in order to create a
Canadian-based, psoriasis support vehicle. Psoriasis Support Canada is a
national, non-commercial and fully bilingual community of psoriasis sufferers,
their families, friends and employers. Psoriasis Support Canada connects
people with psoriasis or an interest in this disease to health and lifestyle
resources, healthcare professionals and services. The program provides
practical tips and information to help them to better understand, manage and
treat their condition.

    (1) Gupta MA, Gupta AK. Depression and suicidal ideation in dermatology
        patients with acne, alopecia areata, atopic dermatitis and psoriasis.
        Br J Dermatol. 1998 Nov;139(5):846-50.

    (2) Gupta MA, Schork NJ, Gupta AK et al. Suicidal ideation in psoriasis.
        Int J Dermatol. 1993 Mar;32(3):188-90

    (3) Rapp SR, et al. J Am Acad Dermatol 41:401-7 (1999).)

    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/

For further information:

For further information: or to arrange an interview with dermatologist
Dr. Norman Wasel or psoriasis patient Charlie McKenzie, please contact:
Lindsay Peterson, Communications MECA, (416) 425-9143 or 1-866-337-3362 ext.
229, lpeterson@meca.ca; Naz Araghian, Communications MECA, (416) 425-9143 or
1-866-337-3362 ext. 232, naraghian@meca.ca

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