Searching the internet

It's normal to want to jump online and google your child's condition to find out more about the diagnosis and get a clearer picture of what's ahead. Wanting to understand as much as you can is natural, and it can be helpful to know what to expect and prepare for whatever lies ahead.

The need to google

It's also not always easy to take in the information your child’s doctor or other professionals give you. So it's important that parents and carers are able to access trustworthy information when it's right for them. 

But it's vital to remember that searching online is not always the best way to find the answers you need. 

Why you need to be wary

If you type the name of your child's cancer into a search engine you will get a long list of results and many that are only relevant to adult cancers.

This can be daunting. Where do you start? Which websites can you trust? What do treatment and recovery rates mean for your child?

There are overwhelming amounts of information on the internet. Some may be contradictory and not all of which is reliable. Even so, it can be tempting to start making predictions based on what you read online. 

Different cancers affect different people in different ways. It’s almost impossible to predict what course your child’s cancer will take, no matter how much internet research you do.

If you're feeling confused, try going back to your child's consultant or nurse and ask them to explain things again. 

Before you start searching

  • Think first about how you'll feel if you read something you don't like
  • Ask your child’s doctor, nurse or CLIC Sargent Social Worker for advice about websites with the most reliable information
  • Consider giving the task of internet research to a trusted family member or friend who isn’t as closely involved. They may be able to filter and balance the information better
  • Be conscious that you are more likely to remember the negative things than the positive ones
  • You may find reading difficult material with someone you trust easier than reading it alone.

When you’re looking online

  1. Limit the time you spend online
  2. Visit official websites, such as those run by registered UK cancer charities like CLIC Sargent, or by the NHS
  3. Look out for the Information Standard logo to ensure the information is trustworthy
  4. Remember that claims of miracle cures or treatments may not be backed up by proper research
  5. Check the date of any research to make sure it is up-to-date
  6. Remember that all numbers and statistics are open to interpretation.

Where next?

Updated February 2017, next review due February 2018.

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