Searching online

It might be tempting at this point to start googling. It's normal to want to find out as much as you can but using the internet definitely has pros and cons.

Pros

  • Lots of reliable information is available about different cancer types, treatments and living with cancer
  • You can hear first-hand experiences from other people who have cancer or have finished treatment
  • Having access to information can empower you to ask questions, and help you understand what you might need to discuss with your care team.

Cons

  • The internet contains overwhelming amounts of information, some of which may be contradictory – and not all of which is reliable
  • It can be difficult to find the level of detail you’re looking for
  • If you’re already feeling low, it can be upsetting to read some things. Take account of how you’re feeling before going online
  • Medical terms and jargon can make reading tricky 
  • Lots of information comes from the US, which has a different healthcare system
  • False claims are often made about miracle cures and treatments.

When you search online

Try to bear in mind some of the following suggestions to help get the best out of the internet:

  1. Limit the time you spend online – too much information can be a bad thing.
  2. Only visit reliable websites. Look out for the Information Standard logo, which shows that information material is trustworthy. 
  3. Prepare to read things that you may not like or could upset you.
  4. Read difficult information with a close friend or family member.
  5. Be aware you’re likely to remember negative things more than positive information.
  6. Remember that numbers and statistics may be interpreted differently by different people.

Where next?

Updated February 2017, next review due February 2018.

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