Read our librarian’s picks for the best online cancer resources

If you think you can trust the results of your latest Google search on cancer, click again. And again. And again.

It’s important to use trusted resources when it comes to your health or that of a loved one, but verifying a cancer website’s credentials is a multistep — and often time-consuming — process.

“You want to make sure that the information you find on the Internet has the same level of credibility as your physician,” says Ruti Volk, M.S.I., A.H.I.P., the University of Michigan Health System’s Patient Education librarian and former manager of the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Patient Education Resource Center. “It’s important to check a website’s credentials, because if you base a decision on bad, inaccurate or outdated information, you can really cause yourself a lot of harm,” she says.

Volk, an award-winning medical librarian, shares her choices for the best online cancer resources so cancer patients, their family and friends can focus on what’s important: time together.

Read the rest of this story from our most recent issue of Thrive, the Cancer Center’s patient publication.

Is second-hand smoke really that dangerous?

Absolutely, says Linda Thomas, manager of the University of Michigan Health System’s Tobacco Consultation Service. Thousands of toxic chemicals are in the smoke that smokers exhale-and it lingers in the air that the rest of us breathe.

To hear more about what you can do to avoid the health effects of second-hand smoke and how you can encourage loved ones to quit, view the videocast above of our conversation with Thomas. Or, if you’d like information about our free smoking cessation program, call 734-998-6222.


Most wanted supplements

Marketing claims for nutritional supplements can be lofty — and misleading. What’s lurking inside those bottles — cancer killers? Or con artists?

University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center dietitians Nancy Burke, R.D., Joan Daniels, R.D., and Daniel Karsies, R.D., M.S., say the best bet for cancer prevention is a healthy diet. Nevertheless, we know many of our patients have questions about supplements. Get the lowdown on 10 commonly linked to cancer prevention.


Pleasures from the farm

The farmers’ market makes it easy to eat well in the summertime. Fruits and vegetables–key to a healthy diet that may help to prevent cancer–are at their most delicious peaks. And grocery shopping feels more like an adventure than a chore. During the past few years, farmers’ markets have multiplied across the state of Michigan. Visit our online calendar to what’s in season now and throughout the summer. Check out the Michigan Farmers Market Map, too, to find a location near you.

After cancer diagnosis, U-M doctor gains new understanding for patients

Samuel Silver, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of internal medicine and an oncologist at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, talks about his bout with lymphoma and how it changed his understanding for patients with new cancer diagnoses. The video was produced by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, a consortium of 21 leading cancer institutes dedicated to improving the quality and effectiveness of care provided to patients with cancer. The U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center is a founding member of the NCCN.

Scams exposed: Site offers advice on phony cures

For as long as there is sickness, there will be snake-oil salesmen. It’s sad to think anyone would take advantage of people who are facing cancer, but it happens. That’s why the federal trade commission has established a new web site to help people spot cancer-related scams.

The site,, offers sound advice for identifying and reporting bogus products that claim to cure cancer. Douglas Blayney, M.D., former medical director of the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, said the single best thing you can do when questions arise about supplements or alternative treatments is talk to your health-care team.

“A lot of patients are reluctant to tell their doctors what supplements they’re taking, or they forget,” he said. “But it’s extremely important.”

Supplements may interfere with cancer treatment, diminishing a drug’s effects or making it toxic, he said. This is also true of prescription medications and legitimate nutritional supplements — which is why it’s essential to keep your health-care team informed. Continue reading