Learning About New Cancer Treatments
You’ve just heard about a possible new cancer treatment. It may be a new drug or machine, a new invention, or a new way to give treatment. If you have cancer, you may wonder if this treatment might work for you. Even though your doctor hasn’t mentioned it, you want to find out more about this new method. You want to have every possible chance of cure.
You may be thinking of spending your time, money, and energy on something that science has not yet proven to work. At this point, you don’t know if it can help you, or even if it could harm you. Before you put your time, your money, and your body on the line, you need to know more about what you are looking at so you can decide if it’s worth it.
It may be that the treatment you’ve heard about is “in the pipeline” to become a mainstream cancer treatment in the future. It’s usually not too hard to find information about these kinds of treatments.
Sometimes, the treatment you have heard about is already being used to treat cancer. In that case, it’s usually easy to learn more about it. If the treatment was approved for another type of cancer or a different illness, you can still find information. But it may be harder to find out about how well it works for the type of cancer you have.
Other treatments may be herbs, vitamins, dietary supplements, traditional remedies, “body cleansings,” special diets, and systems, among many others, that are supposed to allow the body to heal itself. While it used to be that there were few studies that looked at these methods, doctors are now researching more of them in the same ways that they study other treatments.
Whatever treatment you are thinking about, you will want to take the time to see what you can find out about it from sources you can trust. Here we will give you some ideas to help you when you are searching for more information.
This document only addresses ways to look at information on methods that are said to be cancer treatments, but some of the same principles can be used when looking at information on screening or diagnostic tests, symptom management, and other aspects of cancer detection and care. If what you have heard about is a method of cancer prevention, see our document, Learning About New Ways to Prevent Cancer.
Last Medical Review: 09/04/2012
Last Revised: 09/04/2012