Yesterday, in my usual scouring of the internet for the magic cure for all my ailments, I found an article about variability in cancer treatment and compliance with guidelines. Its an interesting read and how to make sure you are getting the right treatment with second opinions, good insurance coverage (plan ahead), yada yada yada.
And then I asked myself, what guidelines? I have always assumed that some little group of doctors got together and over a few beers put together their guidelines for treatment for each ailment. Little did I know that NCIC provides guidelines for treatment of all cancers. Some of them are even available in patient format - meaning readable in by normal people who did not go to medical school. You can see the treatment guidelines for stage I and II breast cancer here. And a list for all available patient guidelines by cancer type.
I cannot tell you how cool this is. How often have I wondered about my treatment plan, was it in compliance with guidelines - meaning did it give me the best possible treatment? It was a lot of good reading and I want to review it all.
Then if you go to the link for clinical practice guidelines, at the very bottom of the page is a link to all guidelines which takes you here for even more reading but it quickly becomes a bit technical because it is aimed at doctors. Feel free to start deciphering.
Finally, there was a link to the guidelines for other diseases - meaning not cancer - which are at the National Guideline Clearinghouse. These are uber-cool. I immediately looked up RA and will move on to fibromyalgia shortly.
So do not click the links unless you have a few hours to give yourself reassurance that your treatment plans are correct. They will suck you in quickly. I am going to work an hour late because I got a tiny bit side tracked.