All health information, including cancer-related matters, should come only from credible sources.
Naturally, studies published by government agencies, hospitals, prestigious schools, and independent expert researchers are credible because the information is backed by research and evidence.
Unfortunately, we live in the digital age, and sharing information has never been easier. Theoretically, this should be a positive thing, but it just so happens that spreading misinformation, especially on the Internet, is quite prominent.
Considering how sensitive cancer is a topic, you want to get your information only from reliable sources. And if you are uncertain about the credibility of a source, know that there are certain tell-tale signs to help you distinguish credible information from fake information.
Let’s take a closer look at how you can establish whether an information piece on cancer is worth your attention or not.
Looking up information online is one of the fastest ways to familiarize yourself with various subjects, including cancer.
However, there are hardly any dedicated professional cancer researchers publishing simple articles online.
For the most part, you are going to read a piece from someone who took their time to do the research and talk to the correct people.
Just like in other sources, claims made in online articles need to be backed up by actual data. As soon as you feel like an article feels iffy, you are probably better off ignoring it and seeking information elsewhere.
Books are similar to articles, except that they come with much more information. Long books can provide enough information on the most important things related to cancer.
One of the giveaways that a book might not be that great is when it is written by a single author. That is not to say that the book is bad.
The point here is that you are likely getting a single perspective, which is not that great for a tricky topic—cancer.
At the very least, before you commit to purchasing a book, read reviews online. And if you are borrowing one from a library, ask a librarian for a reference.
There is no need to beat around the bush. Social media is arguably the biggest source of misinformation. Everyone can share whatever article or image making ridiculous claims and spread it like gospel.
As a rule of thumb, you want to block random bits of cancer-related media on social media, so it does not appear on your feed. In fact, if you find a claim that is outrageous and is lying to people, report it.
If there is anything worthwhile to do on social media, if you are interested in cancer-related news, you could follow reputably and established researchers or websites that share their latest pieces on social media.
Doing so would let you know when a new article or an interview is out.
Websites Dedicated to Cancer
Figuring out whether a website dedicated to cancer is credible or not should be pretty easy. For one, look at the domain. If it ends with .gov, it means that the website is maintained by the government.
edu. is also a good domain because it indicates an educational institution, such as a university, behind the website.
Between .com and .org, you need to be careful about these two. The latter is arguably a better indication because .org is used by organizations, which, in this case, would mean one that is dedicated to cancer.
Meanwhile, .com is used for general websites, and you need to be extra careful.
Besides the domain, double-check how old the information is. If the website neglects to update the details, it is a sign that it might not be the most reputable source.
Finally, a website should have an About Us section which details the purpose behind running the website. Is it backed by the government? Or maybe it is a non-profit organization trying to spread awareness?
Such tell-tale signs are a positive indication. On the other hand, you might encounter sites that have what looks like valuable information, but they are trying to sell you something shady or claim to have found a source for cancer.
As you have probably guessed, these kinds of websites are exactly what you want to avoid.
How to Confirm Your Suspicions
If you are uncertain whether a source is credible despite looking at everything thoroughly, ask for a second opinion.
There are cancer communities where you can meet the youth cancer patients, and these communities involve professionals who can consult you. Talking to them directly will help you dispel the doubts you might have.
Speaking to a physician who specializes in cancer is also a worthwhile suggestion. Even if you cannot meet one in person, reach out via social media or email and ask what they think about a book or article related to cancer.
Jean Smith is a fitness enthusiast and blogger who focuses on fitness and a healthy lifestyle. She is passionate about assisting people in living healthier lifestyles and is constantly on the lookout for new and creative methods to stay fit and healthy. Her articles are excellent resources for anyone interested in improving their health and fitness.