Patient-friendly summaries of Fox Chase Cancer Center clinical trials added to web site; patients avoid complicated language designed for physicians

November 09, 2000

PHILADELPHIA (November 10, 2000) - Fox Chase Cancer Center has placed easy-to-understand summaries of clinical trials on its web site at The summaries have been adapted from the complete clinical trial documents that are used by the medical staff.

"Patients and their families have become more savvy in their search for information after a diagnosis of cancer," said Michael Bookman, M.D., director of medical information management and the protocol management facility. "The first place many of them go is to the Internet to find reliable information about clinical research programs at the top cancer centers. Now, when they visit the Fox Chase web site, they can easily read about our clinical trials."

The studies are grouped by cancer site (breast, prostate, etc.) and have information describing what a clinical trial is.

"Most of the information for the lay summaries is drawn from the patient informed consent document used for the actual clinical trial and is reviewed by the local principal investigator for the study," explains Bookman. "This information can help patients understand their options more fully and serve as a reference when the patient talks to his or her doctor.

Bookman added, "Improvement in cancer treatment absolutely depends on our ability to conduct informative clinical trials, and it would be wonderful if we could increase patient awareness and participation."

Overall, approximately 20% of patients who receive treatment at Fox Chase elect to participate in a clinical trial, which is already much greater than the national average.

The project to create the "patient-friendly" summaries and post them on the site is ongoing. "It reaffirms our commitment to provide patients and their families with comprehensive information about cancer and available treatment options," Bookman said.

"These new summaries do not replace the current Protocol Management Systems offered for medical professionals on the Fox Chase site," Bookman explained. "But clearly, the patient summaries provide a less technical overview of the studies and are easier to understand than the physician versions." Fox Chase Cancer Center has about 150 cancer treatment trials open at any one time, including studies of cancer prevention. Each clinical trial has been reviewed and approved by the Research Review Committee and the Institutional Review Board. The web site uses new software to display updated summaries only on those trials that are currently enrolling patients. However, because new protocols are rapidly activated, not all studies will have a "patient-friendly" summary that has been written and approved for the web site prior to the study's activation.
Fox Chase Cancer Center, one of the nation's first comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute in 1974, conducts basic and clinical research; programs of prevention, detection and treatment of cancer; and community outreach. For more information about Fox Chase activities, visit the Center's web site at

Fox Chase Cancer Center

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