Sources (references)

We follow a standard referencing style across all the pages.


Each page has an expandable box at the bottom for references. These show the references for the information on that specific page.

We have a maximum of 6 key references visible on the live site per page. These normally include:

  • UK or European treatment guidelines – for example National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) or Scottish Intercollegiate Guideline Network (SIGN) or European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) guidance on that cancer type. We include individual technology appraisals where relevant.
  • Current guidance from professional medical organisations such as the British Association of Dermatologists, British Society of Gastroenterology or the Electronic Medicines Compendium.
  • Primary, peer-reviewed literature: from searches on PubMed and NICE Evidence – more weight is given to recent systematic reviews and meta-analyses, and then overviews in reputable, professional medical or scientific journals.
  • Websites of professional medical organisations or charities, such as the British Society of Haematologists, British Association of Dermatology etc. We tend not to use websites as references on the cancer type pages (except for Cancer Stats information) but do sometimes use them in the coping or general cancer information pages: for example the British Lymphology Society (BLS), which produces lymphoedema guidelines.
  • Statistics provided by the Statistical Information Team at Cancer Research UK.
  • Reference books.

We list the most relevant and comprehensive guidelines first, rather than listing alphabetically.

We can use this phrase as the 6th reference if there are more than 6 references:

The information on this page is based on literature searches and specialist checking. We used many references and there are too many to list here. Please contact with details of the particular issue you are interested in if you need additional references for this information.

Referencing style

We use an easy to understand referencing style for books, articles and guidelines. 

Guidelines or official reports

Only the guideline or report title should be in bold. For example:

Lung cancer diagnosis and management [A link to the guideline is embedded in this title]
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), 2019 (updated 2024)

Criteria for a population screening programme
UK National Screening Committee, 2022

We link to national guidelines and sometimes reports but not to articles or PDF documents. 

ESMO guidelines are published in the Annals of Oncology journal, so we write these as an article (see Articles below).


Book title in bold (#edition)
Publisher, date

For example:

Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology (12th edition)
VT DeVita, TS Lawrence, SA Rosenberg
Wolters Kluwer, 2023

If there are more than 3 authors we tend to write the first 3 author's names followed by 'and others'. For example:

Oxford Textbook of Palliative Medicine (5th edition)
N Cherny, M Fallon, S Kaasa and others
Oxford University Press, 2015


Article title in bold
Author(s) [Initial followed by surname]
Journal title, Year. Volume #, Issue #, Pages # - #

Include both names if there are 2 authors, but if more than 2 include the first author's name followed by ‘and others’. For example:

Ductal carcinoma in situ of the breast: a systematic review of incidence, treatment, and outcomes
J Virnig and others
Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2010. Volume 102, Issue 3, Pages 170-178

Renal cell carcinoma: ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up
B Escudier and others
Annals of Oncology, 2019. Volume 30, Issue 5, Pages 706-720

We write ESMO guidelines as an article (rather than as guidelines) because they are published in the Annals of Oncology journal. List ESMO eUpdates as a separate reference.


Title of page in bold [LINK to the relevant page or section of the website]
Name of website 
Accessed [date]

For example:

Bowel cancer statistics [LINK to Cancer Statistics section]
Cancer Research UK 
Accessed April 2022

We can link to relevant pages on a website, but avoid linking to PDF documents.

References for different types of pages

Cancer drug pages

We use the Electronic Medicines Compendium to write and check our drug page information. This reference should appear as:

Electronic Medicines Compendium [LINK to the eMC website]
Accessed [date]

For newer drugs we may also use additional references at times: 

  • European Medicines Agency
  • clinical trial data
  • published research papers
  • drug manufacturer websites 
  • Food and Drug Administration (very rarely)

Pages that have information about immunisations should have these references:

Specialist referral and Seeing your GP pages

We add the year of the last update in brackets.

Other commonly used sources (references)

TNM Classification of Malignant Tumours (8th edition)
Union for International Cancer Control
J Brierley, M Gospodarowicz and C Wittekind   
Wiley Blackwell, 2017

AJCC Cancer Staging Manual (8th edition)
American Joint Committee on Cancer
Springer, 2017

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

Improving supportive and palliative care for adults with cancer 
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), 2004

Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology (12th edition)
VT DeVita, TS Lawrence, SA Rosenberg
Wolters Kluwer, 2023

Ross and Wilson Anatomy and Physiology in Health and Illness (14th edition)    
A Waugh and A Grant
Elsevier Ltd, 2023

The Textbook of Uncommon Cancer (5th edition)
D Raghavan, MS Ahluwalia, CD Blanke and others 
Wiley Blackwell, 2017

The Royal Marsden Manual of Clinical Nursing Procedures (10th edition)
S Lister, J Hofland and H Grafton 
Wiley Blackwell, 2020

The Royal Marsden Manual of Clinical and Cancer Nursing Procedures (10th edition, online)
S Lister, J Hofland and H Grafton 
Wiley Blackwell, 2020

Oxford Textbook of Palliative Medicine (5th edition)
N Cherny, M Fallon, S Kaasa and others
Oxford University Press, 2015

Last reviewed: 
12 Dec 2023
Next review due: 
12 Dec 2024

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