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Updated 14 August 2014

Finding cancer info on the internet

Often, once you have been diagnosed with cancer, your first thought is too turned to the internet for information on your disease and the journey you’re about to undertake.

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Often, once you have been diagnosed with cancer, your first thought is too turned to the internet for information on your disease and the journey you’re about to undertake. As a patient, or loved one of a patient, you are looking for information that will help you make choices. An informed patient is an empowered patient!

Advocacy Rule # 1 about finding information - BE INFORMED BUT BE SMART ABOUT IT.
Remember that not all the information you find on the internet (and from other sources) is reliable and correct.

Your doctor will be concerned about this and may even recommend that you not use the internet for information. This is a good warning but this is where your responsibility as a patient comes in. Learn how to tell the difference between good and reliable information and information that is incorrect and misleading. It is vital that you discuss all information you are not sure about with your doctor.

There are thousands of websites offering information on all types of cancer. However, not all websites provide correct and reliable information.

TOP TIPS:

We recommend that when looking for information on the web you take the following into account.

  • NEVER take the information found on the internet, or anywhere else, as medical advice. Only your doctor is able to give you bona- fide health care advice. Each cancer patient’s diagnosis is different and you need tailored advice which takes all your needs into account.
  • Choose sites recommend by your doctor, the Department of Health and recognised institutions or organizations, such as hospitals and universities or reputable cancer NGOs. 
  • Check the source of the information contained on the website. Who wrote the health information? Is this person qualified? Is the data on the site recognized in scientific journals? 
  • Always use more than one website to receive balanced information and to check information. 
  • Check the privacy policy of the site you are visiting. Check if information is collected during your visit and how your personal information is treated. Some sites may send your information to a third party.
  • DO NOT TRUST any promises of miracle treatments, magical drugs or any other statements that are not supported by scientific evidence.
     

Information provided by Campaigning for Cancer

(Health24, December 2011)

 
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