Navigating cancer is difficult enough on it's own. The last thing we need is the internet mucking it up.
The reality is that while the internet has become an amazing, amazing place, it has simultaneously become a dark, misleading rabbit hole awarded to the highest bidder.
One of the challenges with navigating the internet as it pertains to cancer is finding the right information, the right answers, and to find them quickly and efficiently from a trustworthy source. Everywhere you turn, someone is trying to monetize cancer. So at CancerQ we conducted an experiment to find out what happened when you asked Google a simple question, "How to google about cancer?"
Note: Google is now an actual verb, as listed in Webster's Dictionary.
We hoped to find guidance on navigating the internet and the hundreds of thousands of webpages about cancer. We looked for any resource that helps patients and their families better understand how to use the internet to aid in their fight with cancer. How to find good, credible sites and research answers. Watch the video below and check out what we found.
What did you notice?
Our first search, "how to google about cancer?" brought up three pages, and more, all pertaining to Google's new nano pill (currently in development) that seeks out cancerous cells in a person's body. Promising, yes. Helpful? Not in the least.
Our second search, "how to search about cancer?" yielded nothing helpful either. Information about clinical trials, a few pieces of information about Google's potential cancer technology.
What's sad is that Google no longer provides unbiased search results. It has become a "pay-to-play" system. For a price, your webpage can make it to the top of search results too. There are no exceptions, even when it comes to cancer, a matter of life or death.
Not to mention, the first three pages of search results from "How to google about cancer?" related to Google's own product. To us, that doesn't seem very objective. Does that seem to be in the best interest of patients and their families?
More and more patients and caregivers are turning to the internet for answers, especially when it comes to life threatening diseases. The trouble is we can't continue to blindly trust the internet, or blatantly assume anyone on the internet has our best interests in mind. That's why we created CancerQ. Our community will help vet and get you the right tools.
What you can do right now:
1) Read this article from the American Cancer Society about navigating cancer and cancer resources, credibility, and legality on the internet.
2) Use a digital bookmarking tool, like Pocket, to save articles and resources for future reference. This will allow you to save all resources you find through your own research and provided to you by your medical team.
3) Write down the search terms and keywords that helped you get the information you needed. This will help the next time you navigate a search and direct you to the right information.
4) Search the internet to learn how other countries diagnose and treat your particular type of cancer. For example, you can search terms like "lung cancer treatments Japan" and you may find surprising results, studies, and questions to ask your doctor or oncologist at your next appointment. Caution: you can find a lot of information globally, but you might not be able to decipher what countries having leading research, cures, or new treatments on a particular type of cancer.
Too long (TL) ; Didn't read (DR)
While the internet does provide a wealth of information, it is extremely challenging to find the right information as it relates to the particular cancer you are facing. Use our four action items above to help you get the information you need, when you need it.