Once your child has been diagnosed with cancer, what’s the first thing most parents do after the shock sets in? You guessed it, research! A childhood cancer diagnosis creates a stressful time in a family’s life. It is natural to want to seek out help quickly to find answers to important questions. Parents are looking for useful and reliable data to help make decisions about their children’s illness and treatment options. There are many topics to be found on the web, from cancer treatment guidelines to alternative medicines. Finding false information or scams should not add to the anxiety families are going through.
Finding Credible Childhood Cancer Research Online
With the development of smartphones and mobile technology in the past decade, the ease of finding information on the internet is literally at your fingertips. However, blended with this wealth of knowledge is a tremendous amount of misinformation. The era of fake news is causing people to question information sources on social media; this can also apply to cancer research. When typing childhood cancer within the Google search engine, there are links to 25 websites and news articles on just the first page of results. Many of these links go to paid advertisements. How many of them are truthful?
Trusting the wrong info can be harmful to a child going through a battle with cancer. What appears to be facts might only be opinions. It is essential to take time to research the information collected and research where the data is coming from.
Ask the Right Questions
The most crucial point to remember is to first rely on your child’s professional health care team; they will have your child’s best interest in mind when making decisions. If you find a miracle product or treatment online, ask your doctor if it is a legitimate option. Unfortunately, many of the products found online are from scammers trying to take advantage of those in need. The best way for parents to prepare is to ask questions about the website or social media posts found online. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has developed a list of questions to help you decide if the information found is coming from a reliable source. The five questions listed below are adapted from the NCI list.
Who manages the website or social media group?
If it’s a website, look at the URL domain names. If the site ends in .com or .biz, it is generally a commercial, for-profit company. Sites that end in .edu are part of an educational system, sometimes colleges or universities. National or state government-run websites will list .gov. If .org is listed, it is a nonprofit organization, just like heretoserve.org.
What’s the Intention of the Website or Group?
Does the group clearly explain the purpose of the website? Generally, a site lists a mission statement on the main home page. Many websites are created to sell products or make a profit. Be careful when finding information on these sites. They may not provide all health-related facts, especially if trying to sell a service or product.
Who Created the Information on the Site?
Is the information based on scientific facts and conducted from reliable research studies? If the evidence is based on personal experiences or opinions, it may not be factual. In the United States, reliable health information generally comes from hospitals, universities, or government agencies. These organizations will continuously review and update the data.
How Current is the Information?
Does the website contain recent cancer treatment studies? Or is the published date of an article over a decade old? The information listed might be out of date. Research and data in the field of childhood cancer changes constantly so make sure the information is up to date.
Is the Website or Post Asking for Personal Information?
Is the site asking for personal information such as a home address or phone number upfront before providing any information? Does the site explain how that information will be used? Be careful with whom you share your personal information, especially when giving out credit card info to a for-profit site.
Here to Serve Can Help
At Here to Serve, our goal is to thoughtfully assist families going through a difficult time by providing reliable information and quality tools. Our experts will help families navigate the myriad options and resources available in the fight against childhood cancer. Searching for trustworthy information can be overwhelming. Here to Serve can provide support.
To learn more about Here to Serve, please explore our website to understand more about the services we provide to our families. To discover additional information about our nonprofit organization, please read our 5-star reviews on the GreatNonprofits.org website. Great Nonprofits is a leading developer of tools that allow people to find and share information about great nonprofit organizations. Our guidance and resources will always be delivered in a caring and trusting environment at Here to Serve.
By Chris Smith