The PDQ (Physician Data Query), the cancer database, in oncological clinical practice

Cancer Treat Rev. 1991 Jun;18(2):137-43. doi: 10.1016/0305-7372(91)90010-w.


The above illustrates the fact that a physician interested in consulting the PDQ database must dedicate a certain amount of time to an analytical review of the database. It is difficult to determine how much time is required to acquire a sufficient level of control because there are many variables affecting the learning time: experience in using computerized systems, cultural background, personal inclination, etc. However, a certain amount of caution and humility should be exercised whenever a physician approaches a database of this type for the first time, in order to avoid the mistake of dangerously underestimating the nature of the problem. On the other hand, the physician's specific competence and professionalism will not be questioned at all, since they are fundamental to obtain productive search results. If, indeed, the above discussion focussed heavily on the most closely documental aspect of the problem, it should not be forgotten that the contents of the database can be fully understood only by experts who are used to encountering certain terms and procedures on a daily basis. In fact, when a physician turns to a documentation center for a PDQ research, the physician's assistance is always requested in order pair clinical and documental competence. It is this second skill that the physician must acquire to become totally independent.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Factual*
  • Humans
  • Information Systems*
  • Medical Oncology / methods
  • Neoplasms* / therapy