When you receive a cancer diagnosis, it is only natural to want to find out as much as possible about the disease, your treatment options, and what your cancer journey might look like. While your care team should be your first source of knowledge, you may also find yourself turning to the Internet for more information.
How to find reliable cancer information online
Unfortunately, not everything on the Web is accurate or reliable, and some sites are so inaccurate that they can be downright dangerous. For help in separating fact from fiction and good information from misinformation, the National Cancer Institute's Using Trusted Resources page has excellent questions to ask, such as:
- Who is publishing the information, and who paid or sponsored it? (Tip: Check the "About Us" or Disclaimers' section.)
- Is the original source (research study or medical journal) identified?
- Who reviewed the information before it was posted? (Tip: Check for credentials such as MD, DO or PhD.)
- How current is the information, and when was it last reviewed?
- What is the web address? (Tip: Generally, you can trust websites that end in “.gov” and “.edu”. Review sites that end with “.org” and “.com” just to be sure the information is credible.)
- If personal information is being asked, how it is being used and how are you protected?
Seven cancer information sites you can trust
Aside from Sarah Cannon, here are seven sites that you can rely on with confidence to give you medical information to help you through your diagnosis and treatment.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Established under the National Cancer Institute Act of 1937, NCI is the Federal Government's principal agency for cancer research and training. NCI also coordinates the National Cancer Program, which conducts and supports research, training, health information dissemination, and other programs with respect to the cause, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of cancer, rehabilitation from cancer, and the continuing care of cancer patients and the families of cancer patients. Its About Cancer page provides information covering a broad range of cancer types, treatment and clinical trials and genetics services.
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) is a not-for-profit alliance of 30 of the world's leading cancer centers devoted to patient care, research and education and dedicated to improving the quality, effectiveness and efficiency of cancer care so that patients can live better lives. World-renowned experts from NCCN Member Institutions diagnose and treat patients with a broad spectrum of cancers and are recognized for dealing with complex, aggressive or rare cancers, while its Member Institutions pioneered the concept of the multidisciplinary team approach to patient care and conduct innovative research that contributes significantly to understanding, diagnosing and treating cancer.
MedlinePlus is the National Institutes of Health's website for patients and their families and friends. Produced by the National Library of Medicine, it provides reliable, up-to-date health information about diseases, conditions and wellness issues in easy-to-understand language, anytime, anywhere, for free.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) is a nationwide, community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem. In addition to free information, programs, services and community referrals, the American Cancer Society funds groundbreaking research to help understand cancer's causes, determine how best to prevent it and discover new ways to cure it.
A service of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, ClinicalTrials.gov is a registry and results database of publicly and privately supported clinical studies of human participants conducted around the world. The For Patients and Families section provides current information about clinical research studies to patients, their families, their friends and caregivers, and the public. Each study record includes a summary of the study protocol, including the purpose, recruitment status and eligibility criteria. Study locations and specific contact information are listed to assist with enrollment, with the How to Read a Study Record article explaining what information is found in a study record.
The patient information website of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO®), Cancer.Net brings up-to-date information and resources from ASCO® to people facing cancer. The website provides helpful information on Types of Cancer, Navigating Cancer, Coping with Cancer, Research and Advocacy, and Survivorship.
A nonprofit organization, Triage Cancer provides people facing cancer with education on the issues that they may face on their cancer journey. Triage Cancer provides free events, materials, and resources on topics such as health insurance, financial concerns, and more.