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Web Site Links to Complementary Summaries

CancerWise - February 2008

By Dawn Dorsey

Scientific articles on complementary or integrative therapies for cancer and cancer prevention are available on M. D. Anderson's Complementary/Integrative Medicine Education Resources (CIMER) Web site.

The site's In the News section provides links to summaries (also called abstracts) of recently published scientific studies on complementary therapies. The therapies may focus on nutrition, herbs and vitamins, or exercise.

Abstracts supply scientific summaries

"Providing the actual scientific abstracts helps readers be aware of recent findings in the original words of the study investigators rather than interpretations provided by the general news media," says Nancy Russell, Dr.P.H., a senior health education specialist in M. D. Anderson's Integrative Medicine Program.

Russell advises readers to be cautious when interpreting results of isolated studies. She says it is best to consider other studies on the same topic and to examine what other experts in the field think about the study.

If the study appears to affect your situation, it often is best to bring it to the attention of your physician, she says.

Use information as a starting point

Most of the abstracts are written in plain language, but if one seems too technical, you can ask your physician about the specifics or find more information through The Learning Center at M. D. Anderson.

"Separating fact from fiction when searching the Internet for information on complementary therapies can be confusing, so using reliable sources is of utmost importance," says Lisa Gower, education manager for the Integrative Medicine Program. "Readers can then, with confidence, spend their time in the right places. That will help them make the best decisions as they search out evidence-based information on complementary therapies."

If you have questions that are not answered by an abstract, it is a good idea to obtain the complete article, look for published comments in subsequent issues of that journal or obtain assistance from a health care professional. Also, remember that scientific findings usually are not accepted based on the findings of a single study.

M. D. Anderson resources:

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