If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with cancer, you want valid and trustworthy information about the disease, treatment options, side effects and more. It is important to evaluate the information and services you find, especially if a product or service is being sold to treat cancer. Consider who is providing the information and why.
Cancer information may come from a variety of sources, including books, brochures, article and websites. Often, nonprofit organizations and hospital cancer centers are a good source of information and services to help you understand the challenges that accompany a diagnosis. However, not all online and printed information is current and accurate. To help you evaluate cancer information, consider the following:
1) Who wrote the information?
Find out who is providing the health information. If possible, find out who wrote the information and check on their qualifications to give this type of advice.
2) When was the information written?
Find out when the information was published and updated. New information about cancer is often released, yet some information is not updated in a timely manner.
3) Who paid for or published the information?
If you are asked to pay for something, be very careful if the information tries to sell a product, service or medication. Some companies sponsor resources to make a profit, and making a sale may be the main goal.
4) What does my health care team think of the information?
Ask your health care team to explain things that are confusing or unclear. Some information may not be right for your type and stage of cancer. Your team may also recommend resources that provide high-quality information for your cancer.
5) How do I evaluate products and services?
Check the websites of companies and organizations carefully, or call their toll-free number to ask questions. Beware of false claims—some products have not been clinically tested, and there is a risk that these types of products do not work or could be harmful. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) stop companies from selling drugs with false cancer cure claims. The FDA has a “Fake Cancer Cures” web page that lists companies and products you should avoid.
For more information about evaluating cancer information and any other questions you may have about a cancer diagnosis, order a LIVESTRONG Guidebook or contact LIVESTRONG Cancer Navigation Services online or by calling us at 1-855-220-7777.