Find out about the basics of cancer care, particularly helpful if you or a loved one has been newly diagnosed with cancer.
Cancer clinical trials have led to scientific advances in the prevention, care, and treatment of people with cancer. This knowledge could not have been attained without the participation of patients and their doctors. To understand how patient advocates help advance cancer research, Cancer.Net welcomes George W. Sledge Jr., MD, the 2010-2011 President of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and Mary Lou Smith, a longtime patient advocate. Dr. Sledge and Ms. Smith have worked together for many years, primarily through the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group, a clinical cancer research organization.
Doctors and scientists are always looking for better ways to treat people with cancer. To do this, they are constantly developing and studying new drugs, as well as looking for new ways to use existing drugs.
Drug development and approval is often lengthy. For many doctors and patients, the development and approval of new cancer treatments is not fast enough. The FDA is working to speed up this process in several ways.
Doctors and scientists conduct research studies to discover more about the biology of cancer, investigate new treatments and diagnostic tests, and learn how to prevent the disease. Depending on the questions they want to answer, researchers can design these studies in a number of ways. No study design is perfect; each has strengths and drawbacks. Therefore, it is important to understand a study's design so you can evaluate the results and know if they apply to your situation.
Publishing research studies is the primary way scientific professionals use to communicate their findings. They may publish original research or write a review article, which evaluates the existing body of published research on a particular topic. Well-designed research studies can help answer important questions about the biology of cancer, investigate new treatments, and identify areas for further study.
A pathology report is a medical document written by a pathologist, a doctor who specializes in interpreting laboratory tests and evaluating cells, tissues, and organs to diagnose disease. The report specifies a diagnosis based on the pathologist’s examination of a sample of tissue taken from the patient’s tumor.
Cancer is a disease that requires specialized treatment, so it is important to find a treatment center that meets your specific needs. This includes finding the right oncologist and finding the right treatment center.
There are many different ways chemotherapy (the use of drugs to kill cancer cells) and other drugs to treat the cancer and manage the symptoms can be given to a person with cancer. One of the most common ways is intravenously, meaning the drug goes into a vein. Veins used in intravenous (IV) therapy can be in the arms, neck, or chest.
During and after cancer treatment, people may have one or more medications to take at home. These medications include drugs to help relieve side effects, such as pain, as well as drugs to treat the cancer. Because these are powerful medications, they can be extremely harmful if they are taken by someone other than the patient. Therefore, it is important that both patients and their caregivers are aware of the safest ways to store and dispose of the specific medications used during cancer treatment.
A vast amount of information about cancer is available through the Internet and other sources. However, many things you hear from websites, chat rooms, and conversations with friends are inaccurate. Check with your doctor or another credible medical source to verify the accuracy of the claims you hear or read.