Finding health information is now easier than ever. For any type of cancer or disease group, you can quickly find out anything you need to know about treatments, symptoms or medication side effects.
But with the internet at your fingertips, it’s also harder than ever to know what information you can trust. We’ve put together some points to follow to ensure you can find out what you need to know safely.
Speak to your clinical team
The first place to start if you have any questions about your cancer or your treatment is by asking your clinical team.
While you’re a patient at the Teenage and Young Adult (TYA) service at The Christie, we’ll assign you a key worker. This person is generally a specialist nurse. You can ask your key worker any questions you have about your treatment or any side effects.
You can also ask your consultant if you have any questions about your treatment. You can do this by speaking to your consultant’s secretary – you can find their details from your consultant’s profile.
Check the source
If you’re researching your cancer or your treatment online, it’s important that you check where the information is coming from.
Start by looking at the website address of the page you’ve found any health information on. If a web address ends in nhs.uk, like The Christie website, you can be sure it’s an NHS hospital or organisation. If the web address ends in ac.uk, this is an academic institution, like a university.
Sticking to reliable and trustworthy website addresses like these means the information you’re reading is from a reputable source. With other websites, it can be difficult to know if what you’re reading is legitimate.
Not all cases are the same
Reading stories about other people with cancer like yours can help you feel like you’re not the only person in your situation. But you also need to be careful not to assume their situation is exactly the same as yours.
Everyone’s case is different and some people can react differently to different medications. So it’s important that you don’t assume that because something has happened to someone else, this means it will happen to you.
Different rules for different countries
Sometimes different treatments are used for different types of cancer in other countries. If you read websites from the USA, for example, you might see that some patients have different treatments than what’s offered in the UK.
By only viewing UK websites, it’s more likely the information you’re looking at will be relevant.