One of the cool things about working in a hospital is that I can access full versions of some of the scholarly articles on prostate cancer that are normally blocked to the public by their publishers. At the end of the day today, I pulled the full versions of each of these articles for a little light bedtime reading about salvage radiation therapy, toxicities, and imaging:
I skimmed a couple of them on the bus ride home this evening (as much as you can skim on a bouncing bus), and I’ll go through each in a little more detail before my appointment a week from tomorrow.
When I pull articles like this, I consider a few things when reading them:
- When was the article published? Obviously, more recent is generally better, although you can’t discount data from earlier studies entirely.
- What type of research was done? Was it a retrospective study of historical medical records or was it a full-blown trial?
- How many patients were included in the study? Fewer patients (<100) may yield less reliable results than those that include several thousand.
- Over what time period did the study look at patients? Studies that looked at records from the 1990’s into the early 2000’s will reflect the treatment options and technologies available at that time. Studies done more recently will reflect the impact of newer treatment options and technologies.
- Who conducted or funded the study? Who’s conducting a study and how it’s paid for could, in theory, perhaps skew the results (e.g., Big Pharma wanting to push a new drug).
So I’ll be going through each article, gleaning whatever I think may be of value for the appointment, adding to my list of questions to be asked.
Please don’t ask me to share the full versions of the articles here or elsewhere. Not only am I cancer-averse, I’m litigation-averse. I’m not keen on a copyright infringement lawsuit because I posted something on this blog/website that I didn’t have permission to do.
That said, I may try to summarize some of the findings in future posts, with full attribution of any quotes, of course.
Off to read a bedtime story or two…
This post originally appeared on Dan’s Journey through Prostate Cancer. It is republished with permission.