If the President Were Diagnosed With Cancer...
Doctors and researchers would search for the latest information available on cancer treatments that could save him. Top experts would be summoned to the White House. The president would be treated with the latest and best available. He would be given the best opportunity to defeat that cancer, to survive, and to return to good health.
For the rest of us it's chancy. You may get the best treatment available, or you may not. While teams of physicians and researchers would search the medical literature to make sure a president or a senator got the best there is, the same would not be done for you or for me. Most of us assume that our doctor is up-to-date on the latest cancer treatments. However, the facts are that this assumption is as naive as it is comfortable.
There is a very real chance that a potentially lifesaving treatment for your exists that your doctor does not know about. You simply don't know unless you have the latest information on your illness. We believe that patients should be making their own medical choices based upon the best information available.
Treatment Developments and Breakthroughs Worldwide
There are thousands of researchers testing and developing new treatments all the time. These developments are reported in several thousand technical medical and scientific journals throughout the world. Through government organizations like The National Library of Medicine, these reports are analyzed, coded, and made public though government databases. It is possible for any person with a serious illness like cancer, to gain access to the latest treatment information for their specific illness.
So Anyone with a Computer Can go Online and Get the Best Treatment information for Any Illness?
Well yes & no. It is not as simple as putting a term into a search engine like Google and sifting through the results. The main government database, called PubMed, is available online over the web. However, PubMed (formerly called Medline) was designed for researchers and medical librarians. PubMed is a very extensive database of the world's latest (and historic) medical information. It has remarkably powerful tools for honing in on very specific types of information like the newest treatments for a particular illness. It even allows a user to do pinpoint limiting. For example, if I wanted to search for treatment articles on bladder cancer published in the past six months, doing so would be quite easily. If I wanted to restrict only to articles regarding treatment of that same illness but limit to surgical procedures, no problem. If I wanted to limit further to articles that specifically addressed treatment of that illness that specifically addressed persons over 65 with a history of diabetes (or emphysema, or hypertension, or any other condition), still no problem. If for whatever reason I wanted to limit to articles originally published in French, or for that matter, Spanish, or Russian. I could do that too, and much more (nearly all articles in the database include a summary in English).
However, the PubMed database in not user friendly. It was designed for researchers and medical librarians long before there was such a thing as the internet, or for that matter, long before there were personal computers. Someone trained in using the PubMed could readily do the searching I described above. However, it would be very difficult for someone unfamiliar with the structure of this database and the tools available to search it, to find what they are looking for with good accuracy and completeness.
Biologists not Bots
Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing rely on software called crawlers or bots to "crawl" the web and figure out which websites are about what topics, and which are important enough to be placed in the search engine index. This works incredibly well for finding information on most topics. It works reasonably well for finding medical information too.
However, when it comes to finding information that could quite literally mean finding very new information that could result in a life saving treatment for you, it isn't good enough. Search engines have no innate ability to determine if a particular article buried in cybespace is important in terms of it's potential as a better treatment for your illness. The software analyzes words used in the article, the number of links to the article, and other factors that have little to do with medical relevance.
The PubMed Databases employ medical professionals like biologists, physicians, and nurses, to analyze and categorize every article included to make sure it is tagged properly for those searching the databases. An article can be categorized as applicable to dozens of searchable criteria, based not on popularity or word count, but on professional judgment. Here is an example of the searchable indexing of one typical article (chosen at random) from the PubMed database:
PMID- 20534389 OWN - NLM STAT- MEDLINE DA - 20100610 DCOM- 20100624 IS - 1769-6917 (Electronic) IS - 0007-4551 (Linking) VI - 97 Suppl Cancer de la vessie DP - 2010 TI - [Bladder cancer and new drugs] PG - 43-50 AB - Cisplatin-based chemotherapy (MVAC : cisplatin, methotrexate, adriamycin, vinblastine ; or GC : cisplatin, gemcitabine) has been the standard of care for patients with advanced urothelial tumor during the last twenty years. Greater knowledge in the molecular biology of bladder cancer lead to the identification of promising target such as EGFR, HER2, or VEGF-VEGFR pathways. The role of targeted therapies as monotherapy, in combination with chemotheray or as maintenance post-chemotherapy is currently under study. AD - Institut Gustave-Roussy, Departement de medecine, universite Paris-XI, Hautes-Bruyeres, 94805 Villejuif, France. firstname.lastname@example.org
FAU - Massard, C AU - Massard C FAU - Albouy, B AU - Albouy B FAU - Gross-Goupil, M AU - Gross-Goupil M FAU - Ravaud, A AU - Ravaud A LA - fre PT - English Abstract PT - Journal Article TT - Nouvelles molecules dans le cancer de la vessie. PL - France TA - Bull Cancer JT - Bulletin du cancer JID - 0072416 RN - 0 (Antineoplastic Agents) RN - 0 (Tumor Markers, Biological) SB - IM MH - Antineoplastic Agents/therapeutic use MH - Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols/therapeutic use MH - Clinical Trials as Topic MH - Humans MH - Tumor Markers, Biological MH - Urinary Bladder Neoplasms/*drug therapy/metabolism EDAT- 2010/06/11 06:00 MHDA- 2010/06/25 06:00 CRDT- 2010/06/11 06:00 AID - bdc.2010.1100 [pii] AID - 10.1684/bdc.2010.1100 [doi] PST - ppublish SO - Bull Cancer. 2010;97 Suppl Cancer de la vessie:43-50.
A medical professional broke down this article into its various elements. This extensive and meticulous indexing, enables trained searchers to pinpoint the type of medical information they are seeking. As smart as search engine crawlers are, they can't approach the expertise of the medical professionals working for the NLM.
If a new cure for breast cancer or colon cancer were announced today, it would be on the evening news tonight, and on the front page of most daily newspapers tomorrow. In reality, developments in the treatment of cancer come in incremental steps, not single major breakthroughs. Those incremental steps though can make an enormous difference, to the life of someone suffering with cancer and making treatment decision. A new drug shown to be say 20% more effective than the standard treatment for colon cancer with fewer side effects is a very important development for a person with colon cancer, though it may not make the evening news. Likewise, even a very major breakthrough for a rare type of cancer, might not be as newsworthy as the latest celebrity escapade or political scandal.
We Can Find the Treatment information You Need
We are trained in using the medical databases. In fact, since 1993, we have been using these databases to help cancer patients find their best treatment options.
We can search for you and offer you the peace of mind of knowing you have learned about and evaluated all the options available to you.
We will contact you with any questions and get your report out to you within 2 business days.
Order by phone: Call us at 401-751-0120 to order a report or get answers to your questions. We will not pressure you to order. We can not provide medical advice.