Navigating the Internet for reputable medical information is tricky. It's like trying to find a Pulitzer Prize-winning work in a supermarket checkout aisle clogged with tabloid newspapers announcing the latest Elvis sighting.
That's because the Internet is unregulated. Sites need to be loud to attract attention. Some sites are more concerned with attracting advertising than with you.
But the good news is that there's useful medical information on the Internet. Lots of it. You just might have to dig a little deeper.
Trusted sites are created by reputable sources. Check out the home page of any site to see who wrote it. Who sponsors it?
And once you find some relevant information ask yourself:
- Is this information current? There's tons of new medical information coming out daily, weekly, and monthly. Including information on chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). If you're on a site that has not been updated recently, you might want to look elsewhere.
- What does my doctor think? Print out some pages of sites you think are going to help you. Run them past your oncologist and nurse practitioner. Sometimes he or she knows sites that are going to be the most helpful for you.
- Did I learn anything? A site might raise some new CML questions, but when you sign off you should feel like you learned something.
You can't be online 24/7.
But you can subscribe to sites you might find helpful. These sites will send you e-mails and links and tweets containing useful information you can check out when you do have time.
Major teaching and research hospitals have Web sites that offer cutting-edge knowledge on CML. Do a Web search for these.
There's even more help out there to protect you.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces consumer protection laws. That means it has the power to investigate complaints about false or misleading health claims posted on the Internet.
The FTC's Cure-ious? Ask Web page includes questions people can ask their healthcare provider, tips for spotting cancer treatment scams, information about how to file a complaint, and resources for patients and their families. This Web page is located at http://www.ftc.gov/curious on the Internet.
Being diagnosed and treated for CML is a big deal. Becoming familiar with many new terms and getting with a treatment program might take a little time.
The fact you are reading this site proves that you are a digger. A seeker of information. Soon you'll become your own Most Valuable Resource.