Learning about high quality research for your diagnosis and potential cancer treatments will educate you about your situation and options as a cancer patient, or cancer information for a cancer caregiver in the process of conducting some research. The goal is to find the best possible cancer care. Many resources exist with cancer information about published cancer research studies. This article features a free database called PubMed, plus other strategies to locate relevant cancer research. Additional resources for researching treatments are available in Top Rated Cancer Information.
What is PubMed?
PubMed is a free online database with published research from medical journals offering an excellent resource for scientific cancer information. The National Library of Medicine (NLM), a part of the National Institutes of Health, maintains PubMed with millions of citations.
How do I use PubMed?
NLM’s PubMed Tutorial offers tips about how to use PubMed.
Definitely learn about using MESH terms for research in PubMed. MESH terms are PubMed’s controlled vocabulary for indexing articles. Using MESH terms in your searches helps narrow as well as target results of helpful, scientific information about cancer and health related components.
Along with MESH terms, other important PubMed functions include Managing Filters and acquiring full text articles to improve cancer related research.
If you need more help to understand the hierarchy of research studies, read Evidence-Based Medicine and Cancer Clinical Trials. For one-on-one support in cancer research through PubMed and/or other specifics through the cancer journey, visit Cancer Coach for more information.
What is the difference between an abstract on PubMed and the full text article?
Abstracts listed on PubMed are summaries of published research studies and/or article content. Whenever possible, it is important to read the full text article and not only rely on the abstract section of a published study. Abstracts provide limited information and sometimes not completely consistent with all corresponding data in the article.
Also recognize that PubMed does not include abstracts for all published research studies.
What are some other strategies to locate relevant cancer research?
1. Google and Google Scholar
- You may be surprised about what you find through searching in Google! Try searching concepts, synonyms, narrower terms, and broader terms, as well as writing your topic statement as a question. You may also find some full text articles through Google.
2. Journals & Articles (free)
- BioMed Central
- Cochrane Library
- Directory of Open Access Journals Oncology lists over 50 open access journals in oncology.
- Ecancermedicalscience is a free open access cancer journal founded by the European Institute of Oncology.
- Free Medical Journals
- Public Library of Science (PLOS)
- PubMed Central
3. Journals specific to integrative cancer care and integrative health care (free abstracts; fee based full text articles and subscriptions)
4. Journals focused on cancer care and health care
- Annals of Oncology
- BMC Cancer
- Breast Cancer Research
- British Journal of Cancer
- British Medical Journal
- European Journal of Cancer
- European Journal of Cancer Care
- Journal of the National Cancer Institute
- Journal of Clinical Oncology
- Journal of the American Medical Association
- New England Journal of Medicine
- Many others
5. Databases (fee based to access)
- AMED Allied and Complementary Medicine, Alt HealthWatch, Medline, Embase, PsychINFO, and other databases list some published cancer and integrative cancer studies not available through PubMed. More information about these databases and others is available through Ovid.
Other resources to help you gather information about published cancer research and additional cancer information is listed in Top Rated Cancer Information.