PDQ®: Questions and Answers

  • PDQ contains information on cancer treatment, supportive care, screening, prevention, genetics, and complementary and alternative medicine.
  • PDQ also contains abstracts of clinical trials.
  • Information from PDQ can be accessed on the National Cancer Institute’s Web site, or by calling the NCI’s Cancer Information Service.
  1. What is PDQ?
  2. PDQ is a comprehensive cancer information database that is updated regularly. PDQ contains the most current information about cancer treatment, supportive care, screening, prevention, genetics, and complementary and alternative medicine. The database also contains abstracts of clinical trial protocols. PDQ is maintained by the National Cancer Institute with the help of cancer experts from across the Nation.

  3. What information is included in PDQ?
  4. PDQ contains the following information:

  5. What information is in the cancer information summaries?

  6. The treatment summaries describe therapies currently available for a specific type and stage of cancer. PDQ does not recommend one treatment over another, but lists treatment options that health care providers may consider in developing a treatment plan to meet a patient’s needs. Because advances in treatment occur frequently, PDQ summaries are reviewed regularly by PDQ Editorial Board oncology experts and are updated as needed.

    Most cancer information summaries are available in two versions: a technical version for health professionals and a nontechnical version for patients, their families, and the public. A growing number of the patient versions of summaries include illustrations and definitions of the medical and scientific terms used. Many summaries are also available in Spanish.

  7. What are clinical trials?
  8. Clinical trials are research studies in which human volunteers participate. There are many types of clinical trials. They include studies to evaluate methods for prevention, detection, and treatment of cancer, as well as studies designed to lessen the distress of the disease and improve comfort and quality of life. Each trial is designed to answer scientific questions. People who take part in clinical trials have the first opportunity to benefit from new research and make very important contributions to medical science.

  9. What information about clinical trials is in PDQ?
  10. PDQ provides abstracts of ongoing treatment, supportive care, diagnostic, genetics, screening, and prevention clinical trials, including all NCI-funded clinical trials and some studies conducted by independent investigators at hospitals and medical centers in the United States and other countries around the world. Most of the trials in PDQ are designed to evaluate new treatments for cancer patients. Each abstract includes information such as the trial’s purpose, the requirements for being eligible to participate, and names and phone numbers for obtaining further information.

  11. What are the ways of obtaining information from PDQ?
  12. Listed below are several ways to access information from PDQ.

    The CIS also provides live, online assistance through the LiveHelp link on the NCI’s Web site. Through LiveHelp, an instant messaging service, information specialists provide Internet users with help in locating PDQ summaries, searching for clinical trials, navigating the NCI’s Web site, and finding answers to questions about cancer. LiveHelp is available Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Eastern time.