The internet – our best friend or worst enemy?
by Les Friedman, Mikey’s dad
“Just Google it!” It’s part of our everyday language but the truth is, the internet can be our best friend or our worst enemy particularly when it comes to medical information.
Pediatric cancer is like a finger print – every cancer is different and every child reacts differently to treatment. What you read on the internet may be totally wrong for your child’s situation.
First of all, don’t believe everything that you read online. While there is a significant amount of health-related information on the internet, the accuracy of the information is erratic. So many facts can be wrong on the internet that you can get lost in the wrong. A lot of information is outdated, rife with inaccuracies or not applicable. Acting on inaccurate, outdated or irrelevant information can prove hazardous to our well-being, potentially posing a significant detrimental impact on our health.
While the accuracy of medical information obtained via the internet is often in question, as long as you stick to reliable websites, the possibility of finding expired or false information will be considerably less. Turn to reliable sites such as those of government agencies like the National Institute on Health or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, well-known academic medical institutions such as Yale, Johns Hopkins, Harvard, University of California or reputable organizations like Coalition Against Childhood Cancer or the American Cancer Society.
My advice? Stay off the internet for medical information unless it’s from a reliable source but definitely jump on the internet to find support – search for local support groups, parent blogs, parent resources such as CancerCare and The Truth 365 or online resources at the hospital where your child is being treated. CaringBridge is a very strong and reliable personal website which has all the tools you need to keep your family and friends updated during a difficult time.