Where this information on coping with cancer comes from | Cancer Research UK
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Where this information on coping with cancer comes from

Coping with cancer

On this page are the major sources of information that we use to put together sections about coping with cancer.


About this page

All our information is checked by health professionals who specialise in treating cancer. The names of our specialist reviewers are at the end of this list. We also try to find patients to review all our sections. If you have had symptoms or side effects during your cancer treatment, live in the UK, and would like to become a patient reviewer, you can write to us by clicking on contact us.



Cancer and its management (7th edition)
Tobias J and Hochhauser D
Wiley-Blackwell, 2015

Cancer: Principles and practice of oncology (10th edition)
DeVita VT, Hellman S, Rosenberg SA
Lawrence TS, 2015

Symptom management in advanced cancer (4th edition)
Twycross R, Wilcock A and Toller S
Radcliffe Medical Press Ltd, 2009

Essential Haematology (6th edition)
Hoffbrand AV and Moss PAH
Wiley-Blackwell, 2011

Oxford Textbook of Medicine (5th Edition)
Warrell DA, Cox TM, Firth JD and  Benz EJ Jr
Oxford University Press, 2010

The Royal Marsden Hospital Manual of Clinical Nursing Procedures (9th Edition)
Editors: Lisa Dougherty and Sara Lister
Wiley-Blackwell, 2015

Lymphoedema Care
Woods, M
Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2007

Nutrition and Cancer
Edited by Clare Shaw
Wiley-Blackwell, 2011


UK and international guidelines

NCCN treatment guidelines for patients supportive care (American site)
Link to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) website

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance

  • Fertility: Assessment and treatment for people with fertility problems (CG156) - February 2013
  • Quality standard for nutrition support in adults (QS24) – November 2012
  • PleurX peritoneal catheter drainage system for vacuum assisted drainage of treatment-resistant recurrent malignant ascites (MTG9) – Nov 2012
  • Subcutaneous battery-powered catheter drainage system for ascites - February 2014
  • Denosumab for the prevention of skeletal related events in adults with bone metastases from solid tumours (October 2012)
  • Neutropenic sepsis: prevention and management of neutropenic sepsis in cancer patients – September 2012
  • Opioids in palliative care: safe and effective prescribing of strong opioids for pain in palliative care of adults – May 2012
  • Neuropathic pain – 2010
  • Metastatic spinal cord compression: diagnosis and management of adults at risk of and with metastatic spinal cord compression – 2008
  • Epoetin alfa, epoetin beta and darbepoetin alfa for cancer treatment induced anaemia – May 2008
  • Prostate cancer: Diagnosis and treatment – 2008
  • Faecal incontinence: The management of faecal incontinence in adults – June 2007
  • Percutaneous cementoplasty – 2006
  • Balloon kyphoplasty – 2006
  • Nutrition support for adults – 2006
  • Management of depression in primary and secondary care – December 2004
  • Improving Supportive and Palliative Care for Adults with Cancer: the Manual – 2004
  • Percutaneous vertebroplasty – 2003

Link to the NICE website

Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN)

  • Control of pain in adults with cancer - November 2008

Link to the SIGN website

Guidelines for controlling cancer pain

Management of cancer pain: ESMO clinical practice guidelines. Ripamonti CI, Santini D, Maranzano E et al. Annals of Oncology. 2012. 23 (suppl. 7): vii 139-154

Guidelines for lymphoedema

Best practice for the Management of Lymphoedema: International consensus. London. MEP Ltd. 2006. 

Guidelines for the diagnosis, assessment and management of lymphoedema. Clinical Resource Efficiency Support Team. 2008. 

Management of lymphoedema in advanced cancer and oedema at the end of life. International Lymphoedema Framework Position Document. 2010. 

Guidelines for vaginal dilation

Guidelines for vaginal dilation after pelvic radiotherapy. International Clinical Guideline Group. June 2012.

Guidelines for graft versus host disease

Acute GVHD diagnosis and management.

Chronic GVHD diagnosis and management.

Organ specific management and supportive care in chronic GVHD.

These guidelines are from the British Committee for Standards in Haematology (BCSH) and the British Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation (BSBMT), 2012

Guidelines for mouth care

Management of oral and gastrointestinal mucosal injury: ESMO Clinical Practice guidelines for diagnosis, treatment, and follow up. Peterson DE, Boers-Doets CB, Bensadoun RJ and others. Annals of Oncology. 2015. 00:1-13

Oral management of oncology patients requiring radiotherapy, chemotherapy and/or bone marrow transplantation. Clinical Guidelines. Royal College of Surgeons and The British Society for Disability and Oral Health. Updated 2012

Mouth care guidance and support in cancer and palliative care. UK Oral Mucositis in Cancer Group (UKOMiC).


Articles and reviews

Blood calcium levels and cancer

Systematic review of bisphosphonates for hypercalcaemia of malignancy Saunders Y and others. Palliative Medicine (2004) 18: 418-431 DOI: 10.1191/0269216304pm914ra

Bowel problems and cancer

Algorithm-based management of patients with gastrointestinal symptoms in patients after pelvic radiation treatment (ORBIT): a randomised controlled trial. Andreyev and others. Lancet. 2013 Dec 21;382(9910):2084-92.

Self expandable metal stents for relieving malignant colorectal obstruction: short term safety and efficacy within 30 days of stent procedure in 447 patients. Meisner S and others. Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. Aug 2011. Vol 74, Issue 4, 876-884

Gastrointestinal complications of pelvic radiotherapy: are they of any importance? J Andreyev. Gut, 2005. 54: 1051-1054

The Role of Octreotide in the Management of Patients with Cancer. Practice Guideline Report. Major P and others. Program in evidenced based care. May 2003

Breathing problems and cancer

Non pharmacological interventions for breathlessness in advanced stages of malignant and non malignant diseases. Bausewein C and others. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2008, Issue 2. Art. No: CD005623. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD005623. pub2.

The etiology and management of intractable breathlessness in patients with advanced cancer: a systematic review of pharmacological therapy. Booth S and others. Nature Clinical Practice Oncology (2008) 5, 90-100

Breathlessness in cancer patients. Cachia E and Hjelmeland Ahmedzai S. European Journal of cancer (2008) 44:1116-1123

Cancer and pain control

Cancer Pain Management. British Pain Society. January 2010.

Anticonvulsant drugs for acute and chronic pain. Wiffen PJ and others. Cochrane review.  2005, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD001133. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001133.pub2

Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS) for cancer pain in adults. Hurlow A, Bennett MI, Robb KA and others. Cochrane review. 2012, Issue 3. Art. No.:CD006276. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD006276.pub3.

The Management of cancer pain. Paice J, Ferrell B. CA Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 2011. 61 (3): 157-82

Neuropathic pain in cancer. Fallon MT. British Journal of Anaesthesia. 2013. 111 (1): 105-11

Oral morphine for cancer pain. Wiffen PJ, Wee B, Moore R. Cochrane Review. 2013, Issue 7. Art No: CD003868 DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD 003868.pub3

Diet problems

Randomized phase III clinical trial of five different arms of treatment for patients with cancer cachexia: interim results. Mantovani, G. et al. Nutrition, 2008 Apr  24(4):305-13

Antioxidant supplements for prevention of mortality in healthy participants and patients with various diseases. Bjelakovic G and others. Cochrane review, 2008. Issue 2. Art. No.: CD007176. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD007176

Antioxidant supplements for preventing gastrointestinal cancers. Bjelakovic G and others. 2008. Cochrane review, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD004183. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004183.pub3

Oral Nutritional Interventions in Malnourished Patients with Cancer: A Systemic Review and Meta-Analysis. Baldwin C and others Journal of National Cancer Institute (2012) 104, 371-385

Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, an omega 3 fatty acid from fish oils) for the treatment of cancer cachexia. Dewey A and others. Cochrane Review, 2009, DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004597.pub2

Proteolytic Enzyme Therapy in Evidence Based Complementary Oncology: Fact or Fiction? Beuth, J. Integrative Cancer Therapies December 2008. 7(4), 311-316, 

Emergence of Ghrelin as a Treatment for Cachexia Syndrome. DeBoer MD. Nutrition 24(9): 806-814, September 2008.

ESPEN Guidelines on Enteral Nutrition: Non-surgical oncology. Arends J and others Clinical Nutrition (2006) 25, 245-259.

The Biological Mechanism of Cancer Related Skeletal Muscle Wasting: The Role of Progressive Resistance Exercise. Al-Majid S and Waters H Biological Research for Nursing 10(2):7-20, July 2008.


Management of febrile neutropenia: ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines. J. de Naurois and others. Annals of Oncology, 2010. 21 (suppl 5): v252-v256.

Fluid in the abdomen (ascites)

Palliative treatment of malignant ascites: profile of catumaxomab, Ammouri L, Prommer EE. Biologics, 2010 May 25; 4:103-10

Malignant ascites: Systematic review and guideline for treatment. Becker G and others European Journal of Cancer, (2006). 42, (5), 589-597, 

Graft versus host disease (GvHD)

Treatment and management of graft versus host disease:improving response and survival. Garnett C, Apperley JF and Pavlu J. Therapeutic Advances in Hematology. 2013. 4(6):366-378

Graft versus host disease: Part 1. Pathogenesis and clinical manifestations of graft versus host disease. Hymes SR, Alousi AM and Cowen EW. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2012. 66 (4): 515

Graft versus host disease: Part 2. Management of cutaneous graft versus host disease. Hymes SR, Alousi AM and Cowen EW. Journal of the AMerican Academy of Dermatology. 2012. 66 (4): 535

Graft versus host disease. Ferrara JL and others. The Lancet, 2009 May 2;373(9674):1550-61. Epub 2009 Mar 11.

Corticosteroid regimens for treatment of acute and chronic graft versus host disease (GvHD) after allogenic stem cell transplantation. Salmasian  H and others. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2010, Issue 1. Art. No: CD005565. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD005565. pub2.

Chronic graft versus host disease. Horwitz M and Sullivan K. Blood reviews (2006) Jan; 20(1):15-27. Epub 2005 Apr 7

Update on ocular graft versus host disease. Kim SK. Current Opinion in Ophthalmology. 2006 Aug;17(4):344-8.

Genital manifestation of graft versus host disease: a series of case reports. Lara LA and others. Journal of Sexual Medicine. 2010 Sept 7(9):3216-25. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2010.01885.x.

Rituximab for steroid refractory chronic graft versus host disease. Cutler C and others. Blood, 15 July 2006, Vol. 108, No. 2, pp.756-765.

Hormone symptoms and cancer

Guidance for the management of breast cancer treatment induced bone loss: a consensus position statement from a UK Expert Group. Reid, DM and others. Cancer Treatment review, 2008; 34Suppl 1:S3-18


Short Life Working Group on Lymphoedema. Scottish Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee Report (SMASAC), 2013

Mouth problems

Interventions for the management of dry mouth: topical therapies. Furness S, Worthington HV, Bryan G and others. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2011. Issue 12. Art. No: CD008934. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD008934.pub2

Interventions for preventing oral mucositis for patients with cancer receiving treatment. Worthington HV and others. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2011, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD000978. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000978.pub5.

Interventions for treating oral mucositis for patients with cancer receiving treatment. Clarkson JE, Worthington HV, Furness S and others. Cochrane Database of Systematic Review. 2010. Issue 8. Art No: CD001973. DOI:10.1002/14651858.CD001973.pub4

Interventions for preventing oral candidiasis for patients with cancer receiving treatment (Review). Clarkson JE and others. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2009, Issue 1. Art. No: CD3003807. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003807.pub3.


Anticipatory Nausea and Vomiting. Roscoe JA, Morrow GR, Aapro MS et al. Support Care Cancer 2011 19 (10): 1533-38

Use of Cannabinoid Receptor Agonists in Cancer Therapy as Palliative and Curative Agents. Pisanti S and others. Best Practice & Research Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 23 (2009) 117-131.

Spinal cord compression

Interventions for the treatment of metastatic extradural spinal cord compression in adults. George R and others. Cochrane review, 2010, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD006716. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD006716.pub2

Metastatic spinal cord compression. Quraishi NA and Esler C. BMJ 2011;342:d2402 doi: 10.1136/bmj.d2402

Timing of surgery and radiotherapy in the management of metastatic spine disease: a systematic review. Itshayek E and others. International Journal of Oncology 36 (2010) 533-544

Diagnosis and management of malignant spinal cord compression: part 1. Drudge-Coates L and Rajbabu K. International Journal of Palliative Nursing, 2008. Vol 14, No 3 

Diagnosis and management of malignant spinal cord compression: part 2. Drudge-Coates L and Rajbabu K. International Journal of Palliative Nursing, 2008. Vol 14, No 4 


Exercise for the management of cancer related fatigue in adults.  Cramp F and Daniel J. 2008. Cochrane review, Issue 2. Art. No.: CD006145. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD006145.pub2

Drug therapy for the management of cancer related fatigue. Minton O and others. Cochrane review, 2010, Issue 7. Art. No.: CD006704. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD006704.pub3

Exercise for cancer cachexia in adults. Grande AJ, Silva V, Riera R and others
Cochrane review, 2014, Issue 11. Art. No.: CD010804. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD010804.pub2

Ulcerating cancers

Topical agents and dressings for fungating wounds. Cochrane review. 

Review of patients' experiences with fungating wounds and associated qualify of life. Journal of wound care, Vol 22, No 5, May 2013.

Fungating wounds - Multidimensional challenge in palliative care. Breast Care 2011;6:21-24. PMID 21547022

Bases and rationale of the electrochemotherapy. Mir, L.M. European Journal of Cancer Supplements, 4 (2006) 38-44.

Antitumor effectiveness of electrochemotherapy: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Mali B and others. EJSO 39 (2013) 4-16. The Journal of Cancer Surgery. 


Antioxidants accelerate lung cancer progression in mice. Sayin VI and others. Science Transitional Medicine, 2014; 6(221): 221ra15.


Specialist reviewers

  • Ms Waseema Azam, Oncology Dietician (diet section)
  • Ms Julie Beckerson, Oncology Dietician (diet section)
  • Ms Lucienne Buttigieg, Nurse Specialist (breathing problems, fever, pain and sickness, and mouth problems sections)
  • Ms Linda Davies, District Nursing Sister (ulcerating tumours)
  • Professor K Fearon, Consultant in General Surgery (diet section)
  • Ms Jane Fior, Development Coordinator (coping emotionally and counselling sections)
  • Dr Patricia Grocutt, Reader in Palliative Wound Care (ulcerating tumours)
  • Mrs Angie Hack, Senior Lecturer (skin problems section)
  • Ms Penny Jones, Deputy Director of Nursing (bowel problems)
  • Dr P Mahendra, Consultant Haematologist (GVHD)
  • Prof J Waxman, MBBS, MD FRCP, Professor of Oncology (sex hormone symptoms and cancer)
  • Dr A Stevens, MBBS FRCP FRCR, Consultant Cancer Specialist (sex hormone symptoms and cancer)
  • Ms Isabel White, Clinical Research Fellow in Cancer Rehabilitation (sex and sexuality section)
  • Ms Lorraine Grover, Clinical Nurse Therapist in Sexual Well Being (sex and sexuality section)


Dee McLean, MeDee Art, Medical Illustration

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Updated: 5 May 2016