How to Find Credible Brain Tumor Information Online
You just found out you have a brain tumor. You’re stunned, to say the least. You understandably have tons of questions and want to know more—a lot more. So you do what anyone would do; you Google it.
The internet can be an incredible resource for getting background on your diagnosis, learning about brain tumor treatment options, and understanding what to expect moving forward. But it also can be a source of misinformation and great consternation, particularly if you access some not-so-great websites or patient forums. The key is finding reliable information from credible sources. Here are six ways to help you find the facts in an online sea of information.
- Check the URL. The first way to evaluate the validity of online health information is to see what type of website it resides on. To do this, you’ll need to look at the website address, also called the URL. Website addresses ending in the following domains (the letters after the period) are very likely to provide reliable information:
- .gov are websites published by the government
- .org websites usually belong to non-profit organizations
- .edu websites are run by academic organizations.
This is not to say that commercial websites (.coms) aren’t reliable. You’ll just need to be more discerning.
- Read the “About” page. Most websites (at least the credible ones) have an “About” page letting you know exactly who creates the information on the website and what their goals are. If this information is vague or nonexistent, be wary. Ask yourself why they would want to make it difficult to understand their purpose. Is it perhaps to sell you something? Persuade you in some way? Pay particular attention as to whether a website is published by a manufacturer of a medical product, such as a drug or device.
- Look for contact info. Trustworthy websites make it easy to get in touch with their webmasters, editors, or even their writers, whether by phone, email or webform.
- Check the dateline. Health information can change at the drop of a hat, depending on research that is constantly being done. Many worthy websites date their articles so you can see just how old the information is or when it was last updated. If they don’t, seek to verify the information elsewhere.
- Take testimonials with a grain of salt. Personal blogs and message boards can connect you instantly with others also dealing with brain tumors. It can be incredibly comforting to know you are not alone. However, everyone’s case is different, and you shouldn’t assume you’ll share someone else’s outcome, even if you have the same diagnosis.
- Ask away. Brain tumors are inherently complex. Be suspicious of any site that claims it will cure you. There’s no way for a website to tell you your prognosis, and if what it’s says sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
When in doubt, ask your physician any questions you have about your diagnosis and treatment or whether a particular website or article is credible. The doctors at Rocky Mountain Gamma Knife Center are always willing to help patients understand their diagnoses and treatment options—no matter how long it takes.
Some Places to Start
Here are some resources we like for learning more about brain tumor treatment:
Brain tumor background and general information
Brain tumor treatment options
- American Association of Neurological Surgeons: Meningiomas
Acoustic neuroma (vestibular schwannoma) treatment
Trigeminal neuralgia treatment