Magic Pills and Instant Fixes: Becoming an Educated Health Consumer


Welcome to the premiere installment of Roswell Park Cancer Talk. We plan to share blog posts with you every week on a different cancer subject. You can expect to hear from a lot of us at Roswell Park, since we want to feature as many of our doctors and healthcare experts as possible.

Why another communication from us? Well, I guess we are inundated with information and as educators one of our roles is to identify important and credible information. I mean, there are multiple information sources. But most of those sources aren’t filtered in any way.

News media generally get the story straight, but they have to condense it down to a 30- or 60-second sound bite. The trouble is, in medicine and science the key message is usually buried in the details.

When you start to ask questions—“What about me as an individual patient? What about this group of patients? What about my medical history?”—you get into many nuances.

So where can you go for reliable cancer information? You can always rely on websites from sources like the National Cancer Institute, National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and the American Cancer Society. Roswell Park’s website also has a wealth of information, as well as our Community Cancer Resource Center, which is open weekdays. The Resource Center's cancer information specialists, reachable by phone at 1-800-ROSWELL (1-800-767-9355) or email at are trained to help patients and their families locate and evaluate cancer information and resources.

Once you’ve checked out the details—you can discuss any topic more fully with your doctor. Only then can you truly know how today’s “miracle drug” really pertains to your own unique medical history and case.

Is there a specific topic you'd like us to address here on Cancer Talk? Leave us a comment below and watch for more ways to submit your cancer questions.