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Medical Resources

The following excerpt is taken from Appendix A of Colon & Rectal Cancer: A Comprehensive Guide for Patients & Families by Lorraine Johnston, copyright 2000 by O'Reilly & Associates, Inc. For book orders/information, call (800) 998-9938. Permission is granted to print and distribute this excerpt for noncommercial use as long as the above source is included. The information in this article is meant to educate and should not be used as an alternative for professional medical care.

Medical information targeted to special topics is available through the resources listed in these categories.

Verifying doctor and hospital credentials

The ABMS Public Education Program
47 Perimeter Center East, Suite 500
Atlanta, GA 30346
Phone: (800) 733-2267

They publish The Official ABMS Directory of Board Certified Medical Specialists, a directory of board-certified physicians who have chosen to specialize in a particular area of medicine.

The American College of Surgeons
633 North Saint Clair Street
Chicago, IL 60611
Phone: (312) 202-5000

They can verify whether your surgeon is board-certified in a surgical specialty.

American Medical Association

The AMA publishes the Directory of Physicians in the US that can help you verify your doctor's credentials. Their Physician Select web site is also an excellent means to check your doctor's education and board certification.

The American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology (ASPH/O) established standard requirements for programs treating children with cancer and blood disorders.

Center for Medical Consumers
237 Thompson Street
New York, NY 10012
Phone: (212) 674-7105

Provides information referrals to other organizations, and maintains a medical consumer's library.

College of American Pathologists
325 Waukegan Road
Northfield, IL 60093-2750
Phone: (800) 323-4040

The Consumer Health Information Research Institute
Phone: (816) 228-4595

Provides an integrity index, a credibility of publication index.

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JCAHO)
1 Renaissance Boulevard
Oakbrook Terrace IL 60181
Phone: (630) 792-5800

National Council Against Health Fraud
P.O. Box 1276
Loma Linda, CA 92354
Phone: (909) 824-4690


Provides information on every doctor licensed in the US.


Gives the medical scientist's evaluation of those unusual remedies you've been hearing about.

U.S. News and World Report
"Best Hospitals" annual edition
2400 N Street N.W.
Washington, DC 20037-1196
Phone: (202) 955-2000

Drug and dosage information

Clinical Pharmacology Online


Glaxo's DoseCalc




Mythos Pharmacy Online

Physician's Desk Reference

The Physician's Desk Reference (PDR), a compendium of information about drugs, is now reprinted in versions that are easier for the general public to understand, but you might appreciate the learning experience gained from reading the original PDR. In addition to the PDR, there are many other drug encyclopedias available for the general public. Available through bookstores or in libraries.


US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
5600 Fishers Lane
Rockville, MD 20857
Phone: (301) 827-4420 or (800) 532-4440

You can report adverse effects of drugs to the FDA, too, or use their MedWatch web site at:

Calculating body surface area in square meters

The following chart shows body surface area for typical heights and weights. Calculations were made using the DuBois & DuBois formula:
kg0.425 x cm0.725 x 0.007184
Weight is the horizontal axis, first in pounds, then in kilograms. Height is the vertical axis, first in inches, then in centimeters. Results are body surface areas in square meters.

Click here for "Body surface in square meters chart."

If your height or weight falls between or outside the ranges of this chart, you can use one of the following web sites to calculate body surface area:

Cornell University

Medical College of Wisconsin

Martindale's HS Guide

Or, try a web search on the phrase "body surface area." Note that some of these sites use a slightly different formula, so the results will differ slightly.

Note that certain drugs are not dosed based on body surface area, but on other parameters such as renal function.

Tests and procedures

These resources can help you learn how tests are done, and what the results mean.

Information on how tests are done

Andrews, Maraca, and Michael Shaw. Everything You Need to Know About Medical Tests. Springhouse, 1996. An excellent comprehensive reference written for the patient in a readable and respectful style.

Barry, L., ed. The Patient's Guide to Medical Tests. Houghton Mifflin Co., 1997.

The Biology Project. University of Arizona:

Brodin, Michael B. The Encyclopedia of Medical Tests. Pocket Books, 1997. A 1982 book with the same title written by Pinckney and Pinckney should be passed over in favor of this newer book.

Department of Pathology, University of Washington, Seattle:

The Family Internet site:


Keene, Nancy. Your Child in the Hospital. Sebastopol, California: O'Reilly and Associates, 1997. Covers all aspects of the child's experiences with hospitalization, from tests and treatment to emotional issues such as sibling reactions.

Mid-South Imaging & Therapeutics, P.A.:

Pagana, Kathleen, and Timothy Pagana, eds. Mosby's Diagnostic and Laboratory Test Reference, 1992.

Shtasel, Philip. Medical Tests and Diagnostic Procedures-A Patient's Guide to Just What the Doctor Ordered. Harper and Row, 1990.

Stauffer, Joseph, and Joseph C. Segen. The Patient's Guide to Medical Tests: Everything You Need to Know About the Tests Your Doctor Prescribes, 4th ed. Facts on File, 1997.


Normal values of tests

The University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center. Enter the test name and click search:

The University of Michigan Pathology Laboratories Handbook. Enter the test name and click search:

Clinical trials and investigational new substances

The Food and Drug Administration at: contains regulations for investigational new drugs and for importing foreign drugs for single-patient use. (800) 532-4440.

The book Intuitive Biostatistics, by Harvey Motulsky, can help you understand published results of clinical trials, and can help you assess trial design if you're planning to enroll in a trial. is a source of clinical trial information for Canada, including a searchable database of trials recruiting patients:

The National Cancer Institute Clinical Trials web site is the most comprehensive way to locate trials of new substances and treatments:

QuackWatch on the Internet gives the medical scientist's evaluation of those unusual remedies you've been hearing about:

Niebuhr, Bruce. Handbook of Clinical Trial and Epidemiological Research Designs. January 1998.

Steve Dunn's Cancerguide is an excellent resource for learning how to assess clinical trials and how to research your illness:

Resources for pain and other side effects

The American Cancer Society has many programs to help cancer survivors with problems such as pain. Dial (800) ACS-2345 or check your local phone directory for the office nearest you.

American Society of Anesthesiologists
515 Busse Highway
Park Ridge, IL 60068
Phone: (847) 825-5586

American Society of Clinical Hypnosis
2200 East Vine Avenue, Suite 291
Des Plaines, IL 60018
Phone: (847) 297-3317

National Chronic Pain Outreach Association
7979 Old Georgetown Road, Suite 100
Bethesda, MD 20814-2429
Phone: (301) 652-4948

Educates families, patients, and caretakers about chronic pain and the choices of treatment.

National Lymphedema Network
2211 Post Street, Suite 404
San Francisco, CA 94115
Phone: (800) 541-3259

Provides information on swollen limbs which may occur soon or many years after treatment. Cancer-Pain is an ACOR discussion group for those with cancer-related pain. This group was formed in early 1999. See ACOR's site:

Acupuncture and massage

American Association of Oriental Medicine
433 Front Street
Catasauqua, PA 18032-2506
Phone: (610) 266-1433
Fax: 264-2768

National Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Alliance
PO Box 77511
Seattle, WA 98177-0531
Phone: (206) 524-3511

National Acupuncture Foundation
1718 M Street, Suite 195
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: (202) 332-5794i
The following two web sites have useful information about acupuncture:

American Massage Therapy Association
820 Davis Street, Suite 100
Evanston, IL 60201-4444
Phone: (847) 864-0123
Fax: (847) 864-1178

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