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Guide to Quality Breast Cancer Care

If you live in the United States, you can get excellent breast cancer care. But you could also get care that is wrong for you. This can happen even with good insurance and good doctors. Quality breast cancer care means getting the care that is right for you. Good breast cancer care is based on […]

PatientINFORM has partnered with patientINFORM to provide free online access to peer-reviewed medical articles. PatientINFORM is a collaborative private-sector initiative of patient health organizations, medical societies, health information professionals, and medical publishers. Through patientINFORM, patients and their family members can access the most important new research articles about diseases and treatments through the Web sites […]


Absolute risk The risk is the chance that something will happen to you during a certain period of time. It is the number of people who would have the event if 100 people were observed. It is written as a percent (%). For instance, your risk of getting a disease in the next 5 years […]

Research and Evidence

The Scientific Method The steps of the scientific method are to: Ask a Question Do Background Research Construct a Hypothesis Test a Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment Analyze Data and Draw a Conclusion Communicate Results It is important in evaluating research to think about how the hypothesis was tested – was it done in a […]

How do patients and advocates evaluate evidence?

More Questions to Ask About Evidence Where was the research done? Who did the research? Does anyone benefit financially from the research? What is missing? What do we still need to know to get a better picture of the truth? Researchers often – but don’t always – publish the results of their research in journals, […]

Where do patients and advocates find evidence?

This website,, is a good place to keep up-to-date on the research looking at how breast cancer develops, how we might prevent it, and which treatments are most effective for which patients. Under the News & Research section, breast cancer studies are highlighted, summarized, and analyzed by breast cancer advocates. The Controversies section outlines […]

What is Evidence-Based Health Care?

“Evidence-based health care” means health care that is based on the best scientific research, combined with what’s important to patients, and doctors’ knowledge and experience. People are usually surprised to learn that not all medical care is based on the best evidence, but unfortunately, it’s true. Why is evidence-based health care so important? Much of […]

What are the different types of research studies?

Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) Comparative effectiveness research (CER) is a direct comparison of existing options available for treating a particular medical condition. It may compare similar treatments, such as competing drugs, or it may analyze very different interventions, such as surgery and drug therapy. It may also compare the effectiveness of how and when health […]

Relative Risk vs. Absolute Risk

We often hear news reports that something has been found to reduce the risk of breast cancer or reduce the risk of dying from breast cancer. These reports are often misleading because they use numbers representing relative risk reductions. Absolute risk reduction is what really matters, which is often much lower, and often not reported. […]

Outcome Measures or Endpoints for Clinical Trials

NBCC Says: The appropriate selection of outcome measures for cancer trials is a focus of ongoing debate. While recognizing that proper outcome selection is influenced by the specific design characteristics and resource limitations of the study, the National Breast Cancer Coalition believes that endpoints should be chosen in a manner that maximizes the usefulness and […]