[MOL] Comprehending cancer headlines: Discuss new findings with yourdoct [03085] Medicine On Line

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[MOL] Comprehending cancer headlines: Discuss new findings with yourdoctor

Comprehending cancer headlines: Discuss new findings with your
    [06/29/2000; MSNBC]

A HEALTH-CARE provider who unintentionally leaves patients adrift
in the sea of medical information spanning newspapers, magazines,
TV and, perhaps most significantly, the Internet, brings to mind
a travel agent sending clients on a safari without a guide. It
can be a jungle out there.

My patients often come to me with stacks of clippings and Internet
printouts, a morass of medical and often quasi-medical information.
In some cases, these materials raise appropriate questions about
current cancer issues. In other cases, they merely muddle well-established
knowledge. The field of cancer therapy is deluged with reports
of new studies that either qualify or discount information we
have long since come to trust. These apparent reversals can leave
patients feeling confused and disillusioned.

One recent bulletin involved news of fatal reactions to a relatively
new medication that at first was hailed as a miracle drug in
the fight against breast cancer. This could well be an ill omen
for fast-track FDA review of new anti-cancer drugs. And last
month, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
released its Report on Carcinogens, which took saccharin off
the list of known cancer-causing substances and added tamoxifen,
which was once seen as a breakthrough drug for breast cancer.
Added as a latecomer to the listed carcinogens was secondhand

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