If you have breast cancer or are undergoing breast cancer screening, you’ve probably searched the internet for information about mammograms, chemotherapy, and other aspects of diagnosis and treatment. You may also have wondered how to know which health information you can trust. Here are five tips to help ensure you’re getting reliable, high-quality, and up-to-date information when searching for breast cancer information online.
Oncologists are doctors who specialize in treating cancer. When searching for information on different types of breast cancer or treatment options, check to see if an oncologist was involved in the publication of the article.
If a doctor didn’t write the article, see if it was reviewed by a medical professional in the field. “Medically reviewed” means that a doctor or other health care professional has read the article, focusing on its accuracy.
Below is an example of medically reviewed breast cancer content on MyBCTeam: “What Is HER2? Understanding Cancer Genetics and Life Expectancy.” You can see that a doctor — in this case, a board-certified oncologist — reviewed the article for medical accuracy.
Articles published by hospitals or clinical websites are usually medically reviewed, reliable sources of health information. For example, Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, and other hospital sites publish reliable information geared toward people who are not doctors or scientists.
You can also look for information published by condition-specific organizations or national institutes. The Breast Cancer Research Foundation is a large organization focused on advancing research to cure breast cancer. The American Cancer Society is another trusted resource for people with cancer and caregivers.
Government entities like the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also provide information about breast cancer and other cancers.
If you’re seeking online health information from somewhere other than a hospital or a credible medical organization, remember to check who the publisher is. You can check the “About Us” page to find out more about the website.
Be thoughtful about content from websites that are trying to sell you something, such as supplements or other wellness items. This information may be curated and specifically written to market a product, rather than to provide credible information about breast cancer treatment options or complementary therapies.
Treatment approaches and available drugs for cancer can change frequently, so older articles may not have the most up-to-date information. For example, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved two new treatments for breast cancer in 2023. Articles published earlier won’t include the most current treatments.
Look for articles that were published or updated within the past few years to make sure you’re getting the most accurate medical information.
Below is an image from a MyBCTeam article discussing therapies for triple-negative breast cancer: ”Treatment for Triple-Negative Breast Cancer: What To Expect.” This article was published in 2023.
When reading articles online, be sure to check the references. The reference list includes the writer’s sources of information. You can usually find this list at the end of an article.
Make sure the article’s references include peer-reviewed journals or reputable websites, such as hospitals and condition-specific organizations. “Peer-reviewed” means that other experts in the field have read the article to check its quality.
At the bottom of ”Lumpectomy vs. Mastectomy: Side-By-Side Comparison,” you can see a list of references. If you click on the arrow, you’ll see these types of trustworthy sources.
MyBCTeam is the social network for people with breast cancer and their loved ones. On MyBCTeam, more than 65,000 members come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories with others who understand life with breast cancer.
Are you living with breast cancer? Have you wondered how to find trustworthy information online? Share your experience in the comments below, or start a conversation by posting on your Activities page.