10 Reliable Sources for Cancer Information
When you receive a cancer diagnosis, you may feel like you’re all alone in the world. But many people have, are, and will walk the course. Unfortunately, the cancer road is one that is well traveled. The silver lining here is that there are numerous resources available to you. So, whether you want to find fellow travelers or learn all about your specific diagnosis, plenty of highly esteemed organizations are committed to helping you along.
American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society (ACS) can be considered a one-stop shop for cancer information and support, including Cancer Survivors Network, a virtual community where cancer survivors and families can communicate; countless educational pages covering every aspect of cancer and its specific types; and cancer-focused events, including the Relay for Life, which helps raise money for cancer research while fostering a sense of community.
The ACS also offers emotional support through its I Can Cope endeavor, which is a course designed to help patients and families deal with the mental aspects of a cancer diagnosis.
If the ACS itself doesn’t have the type of program you’re looking for or the information you need, call 800-227-2345 to speak with a staff member, who can point you in the right direction.
American Institute for Cancer Research
Founded in 1982, the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is especially interested in understanding the link between diet and cancer and has translated its findings into practical information you can apply to your eating. You can find questions to ask your doctor before treatment, how to manage side effects with your eating during treatment, and what to eat after you complete treatment to prevent a recurrence or secondary cancer. You can also find information on cancer prevention, including a list of ten recommendations compiled by cancer experts.
Cancercare provides free, professional support services to patients, families, and caregivers to help them cope with and manage the emotional and practical challenges of cancer. This nonprofit’s services include counseling; support groups; access to educational publications on a wide range of cancer topics; live telephone and online workshops in which oncology experts provide up-to-date cancer information (there is also a repository of past workshops); and financial assistance to qualified individuals, such as to cover transportation expenses or co-payments. All services are overseen by professional oncology social workers.
A resource from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Cancer.Net offers oncologist-approved cancer information. The website includes easily navigable pages that provide comprehensive information on the various types of cancer. You can also access links to other organizations that specialize in particular cancers and find coping and survivorship resources.
Chemocare.com, part of the Scott Hamilton CARES (Cancer Alliance for Research, Education, and Survivorship) Initiative, provides comprehensive information on chemotherapy. You can obtain a general overview of chemotherapy, access a database that outlines specific chemotherapeutic agents, learn how to eat well during chemotherapy, discover how to manage treatment-related side effects that can affect eating, and learn how you can prepare for chemotherapy.
ClinicalTrials.gov is a registry and results database of publicly and privately supported human clinical trials conducted around the world. When you enter your search term into the database, you’ll see related trials, including what criteria you need to meet to be included in the study, how and where the study is being conducted, and how to get in touch with the researchers.
National Cancer Institute
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is part of the National Institutes of Health, which is the U.S. government organization that funds cancer research and training. The NCI website provides a host of information on various cancer types and cancer-related issues. You can also call 800-422-6237 to speak to a staff member if you’re unclear on a particular issue.
Use the website to find cancer-specific clinical trials information; you can search by city, state, and type of cancer, making it easier to find cancer trials than by going to the ClinicalTrials.gov website.
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine is also part of the National Institutes of Health. This organization seeks to study complementary and alternative medicine for a variety of health ailments, including cancer, and to educate the public on its findings. On the website, you can find articles covering such topics as stress reduction, supplements, pain management, and allergy relief.
National Comprehensive Cancer Network
Although the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) focuses on helping clinicians improve patient care, it also provides patient guides that outline the NCCN guidelines, which many clinicians use to guide care and make treatment decisions. So, if you’re unclear as to why a certain treatment is being used, these guides are worth checking out and may help you optimize discussions with your oncologist.
PubMed is a database maintained by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. It contains more than 22 million citations from the biomedical literature. If you want to read the studies that are changing practice, this is where to look for them. Type your keyword into the search field to find related citations, which may pull up abstracts or links to full-text articles.