Conventional Medical Resources
The following sites are leaders in mainstream, allopathic or conventional oncology. As the evidence grows for complementary and integrative medicine, the distinction between what is conventional and what is ‘unconventional’ blurs. Many of these sites will also include information on complementary and integrative therapies that do have adequate scientific evidence but will avoid any unproven or ‘alternative’ therapies. The wise approach is to use what is best indicated for your unique situation based on scientific research and clinical experience. Always let your oncologist and multi-disciplinary team practitioners know if you are considering adding to your prescribed treatment from any source. Communication is key to getting the best from your health professionals.
PubMed comprises more than 24 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. Enter your search key words into PubMed to find the latest journal articles. Not all full text articles will be available however reading the abstracts can be a great start to familiarise yourself with authors and topics to dive into. When reading scientific journal articles consider the ‘hierarchy of evidence’ that is that randomised controlled trials and systematic reviews hold the greatest values, and all trials should have enough participants to give statistical power to any findings.
Another reasonably easy to navigate search engine for sourcing academic journal articles. You can find almost any topic using specific search terms or key words, and you can narrow the search to recent years to get only up to date information. It’s easy to see when a full text article will appear by the attachment on the right side so this can save time if full text articles are what you are searching for.
Cochrane exists so that healthcare decisions get better. During the past 20 years, Cochrane has helped to transform the way health decisions are made. The Cochrane Collaborative is a worldwide group of 37,000 people in 130 different countries who work together to produce credible, accessible health information that is free from commercial sponsorship and other conflicts of interest.
The Cochrane group gathers and summarizes the best evidence from research to help health professionals and patients make evidence informed health care decisions.
The Western Australian Cancer Registry is part of the Department of Health, Western Australia, and collects information about cancers diagnosed in WA. The reporting of cancers to the Department of Health has been a legal requirement under the Health Act since 1981. The information on the Cancer Registry is used to monitor the incidence rate of cancer, evaluate, plan and control the quality of cancer services provided, and for research and comparison to international trends.
The Virtual Cancer Centre provides information on diagnosis, treatment and support for cancer patients and their families, as well as health professionals. It includes contributions from Australian specialists working in areas such as oncology, haematology, palliative care, surgery, pharmacy and nursing.
The Cancer Council of WA aims to minimize the effect of cancer on the community through research and education, and by providing patient and family support to enhance the quality of life for people living with cancer.
The Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria comprises three research divisions (epidemiology, behavioural science, clinical research) and units undertaking public and professional education, cancer registration, development of patient services, and cancer information and support services. The Cancer Patients section provides very useful information and is easy to navigate.
Health On the Net Foundation (HON) is one of the very first websites to guide both lay users and medical professionals to reliable sources of healthcare information in cyberspace. It is one of most respected not-for-profit portals to medical information on the Internet. It is a Swiss foundation, operating out of Geneva with the support of local Geneva authorities. This site features useful facilities and is easy to navigate.
The National Library of Medicine (USA) is the world’s largest medical library. Amongst its many facilities it has an exhaustive and informative pharmacopoeia providing detailed information on more than 9000 different drugs, including their side effects.
People Living With Cancer, the patient information website of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), provides oncologist-approved information on more than 50 types of cancer and their treatments, clinical trials, coping, and side effects. Additional resources include live chats, message boards, a drug database, medical dictionary, and links to patient support organizations. The site is designed to help people with cancer make informed health-care decisions.
Medscape provides an excellent online medical literature search facility for physicians and patients. The site is user-friendly and very informative for those seeking comprehensive medical and academic information.
Pancreatica – Confronting Pancreatic Cancer has the world’s largest database of clinical trials in pancreatic cancer. Pancreatica is available for patient or physician study and review and receives no remuneration if patients join any of the trials. This site also provides access to an extensive online network.
The BBC provides an excellent Cancer Guide which assists individuals in making better informed choices about treatment options and support, once diagnosed with cancer. The Cancer Guide is not meant to cover everything but does offer signposts about what to expect and how to get the services you need. Most importantly, it points you towards people, organizations and sources of information that can give you further support.
The British Medical Journal online provides the full text of articles published in the weekly BMJ from January 1994. Many of these articles are scholarly and highly medical in tone and language.
CancerHelp UK is a free information service about cancer and cancer care for people with cancer and their families. It is brought to you by Cancer Research UK. This organisation’s philosophy is that information about cancer should be freely available to all, as well as written in a way that people can easily understand. The information is accessible and helpful.
Pharmacy Direct is an online pharmaceutical retailer for prescription and non-prescription (over the counter lines) items. Online ordering is available or you can call them on 1300 656 245.
Australian government site giving information and statistics including cancer rates and mortality projections based on up to date Australian data. The website also has useful publications including all the different cancer screening programs currently available. Considered an authoritative source of information for researchers, clinicians and the public.
CanTeen supports, develops and empowers young people living with cancer by providing a high-quality Australia-wide peer support network of young people (12 – 24) living with cancer and their siblings who share experiences, have fun, offer resources and promote understanding, wellbeing and leadership. The touchstone of CanTeen is the belief that young people, through meeting and talking with one another, are better able to cope with the uncertainties of a cancer diagnosis.
The Gynaecological Awareness Information Network – GAIN – is a group of dedicated women who have endured the trauma of being diagnosed and treated for gynaecological disorders. In addition to providing immediate support for women with gynaecological concerns, GAIN seeks to increase public knowledge of women’s health issues such as gynaecological cancers (ie vulvar, uterine, cervical and ovarian), endometriosis, sexually transmitted diseases, infertility and sexuality.
Carers WA is a non-profit community based organisation dedicated to improving the lives of an estimated 200,000 family carers living in Western Australia. Part of the National Carers Association, which is the peak body recognised both state and federally as the voice of family carers, Carers WA represents carers’ interests in the Western Australian community. Their role is to work in active partnership with all carers, ie persons with care and support needs, health professionals, service providers, government and the wider community to achieve an improved quality of life for carers. Carers WA also provides a 24 hour freecall Carers Counselling Line.
The Mesothelioma Information and Resource Group – MIRG – is an organization created to assist patients, family, friends and loved ones in learning about mesothelioma and other asbestos-related injuries. It is the aim of MIRG to provide information about the disease, its causes, its treatment and its personal and legal impact.
A US resource with inspirational survivorship stories and links to further resources.