Let’s admit it up front: we are all guilty of consulting Dr. Google. Since we all do it, myself included (when I really, really should – and do – know better), let’s talk about how to do research on the web and get useful, verified, credible information. Either you, or someone who loves you, is doing research on your type of cancer – better to play safe and not freak yourself out unnecessarily.
There is an information tsunami on the web about cancer. Finding credible sources that use evidence-based research is hard. Here’s what I did to navigate through the crap.
My criteria for determining whether or not I would click on a link included the following:
- is it a credible, clinical-based journal
- is it a verified published research paper
- is the paper/article cited by others in the field
- does the site have Health on the Net (HON) accreditation
- is the medical clinic sharing the info a specialist centre in cancer (or more specifically the type of cancer I had)
When typing things into a search engine, the more specific you can be, the better it can help gather the details you need. Typing breast cancer returns millions of results; typing ductal cancer in situ, or invasive lobular cancer gets you much more targeted results. Adding clinical research on, or, published research on, in front of the type of cancer you want to get information on helps narrow the returns even more.
Here are some sites I found that have verified, credible, up to date research on cancer, and breast cancer specifically.
- up-to-date.com (this is an app that doctors use to get the most recent protocols on treatment)
Research can be overwhelming. It takes many hours to find, and then curate the links you come up with. And, a lot of the clinical sources can be hard to understand at first. It can be especially daunting to see survival rates analyzed in cold, hard statistics – don’t fall into that trap. Those are big, high level studies that produce generalities that are used to determine the overall general best practice for treatments.
Remember that cancer-care is highly individualized these days. Your unique needs, circumstances and quality of life goals are all part of the formula to determine a course of care specific to you. Remembering that helped me keep things in perspective. For me, I chose to not go down the survival/prognosis rabbit hole, but everyone makes the choices that are right for them