Finding Trustworthy Cancer Information Online

If you don’t know the answer to a question, what do you do?  You can search the Internet to find information about cancer, but even on reliable websites, statistics and medical data can be confusing.  Filter information through your doctor to clarify concerns and get answers about your treatment.

The National Cancer Institute suggests “Questions You Should Ask” when evaluating online sources of health information.

  1. Who manages this information?
    The person or group that has published health information online should be identified somewhere.
  2. Who is paying for the project, and what is their purpose?
    You should be able to find this in the “About Us” section.
  3. What is the original source of the information that they have posted?
    If the information was originally published in a research journal or a book, they should say which so that you can find it.
  4. How is information reviewed before it get posted?
    Most health information publications have someone with medical or research credentials (e.g., someone who has earned an MD, DO, or PhD) review the information before it gets posted, to make sure it is correct.
  5. How current is the information?
    Online health information sources should show you when the information was posted or last reviewed.
  6. If they are asking for personal information, how will they use that information and how will they protect your privacy?
    This is very important. Do not share personal information until you understand the policies under which it will be used and you are comfortable with any risk involved in sharing your information online.

If you think you have been misinformed by websites that claim to treat or cure cancer, you can file a complaint with either the Federal Trade Commission or the Food and Drug Administration.

Have you been misled by a website?  Share your experience with us and help others avoid bogus websites.

Where to Get More Help

U-M Cancer AnswerLine – 1-800-865-1125

Food and Drug Administration:
187 Fake Cancer “Cures” Consumers Should Avoid 
Protecting Yourself

Federal Trade Commission:

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