Is it safe to consult ‘Dr. Google’?

Are websites accurate and                                                                              informative?

Many doctors hate it if we say we have looked up something on Google – but with long delays to see a GP, how else can we get information whilst we wait for an appointments if we are anxious?Senior Couple on Computer - Vertical

Many patients say they don’t like to bother their doctor, and now a survey shows one in four of us trust Google more than the GP.  Frightening – but who can blame us?

My GP says he trusts his patients

listens to them, and says many of them know their own bodies best.  But then he is a private GP; when I see my NHS GP it can be a different story.  Then I tread on eggshells, and let him think he knows more than me. otherwise he gets upset.

So what web sites can we trust?

You can’t go far wrong with Helplines from the major cancer charities.  Staffed by sensible, experienced nurses, they seem to be able to calm our fears, whilst offering sensible and accurate information.  At least – in my experience.  Ones I turn to are:

Cancer Research UK – highly regarded by Oncologists from major cancer centres around the world – a source we can be proud of:

If seeking info on Breast Cancer, I have had marvellous support from Breast Cancer Care

and for general information, particularly on Benefits, Macmillan are invaluable

Then I might go further afield.  DON’T be afraid of the US – the NHS is jealous of their care, but I have found websites from the major US Cancer Centers absolutely outstanding.  Take your pick from          MD Anderson (probably world’s mostly highly regarded cancer treatment centre by Oncologists worldwide),

Dana-Farber (they were so helpful to me),

Johns Hopkins (brilliant research),

Sloane Kettering – and there are others but that’s enough to get on with.

Then forget about Lance Armstrong, but go to Livestrong:  he founded this charity, which has since distanced itself from him and drug associations, but it is very informative.

Surprisingly, although their cancer survival rates are far better than ours, I find French and German cancer websites aren’t as easy to access or informative  – even if you speak the language.  It’s not in the Continental culture to consult the web.

Just avoid those sites that tell you ’10 easy ways to conquer cancer’; ‘How I cured cancer…..’ etc.  If they ask for money for a treatment, food supplement or whatever, avoid them like the plague.

Happy Browsing!


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