With broadband internet, you can find information about just about anything online. But it’s not all Facebook and games. Breast cancer patients can use the Web to find out information and statistics about their diagnosis – but the abundance of information available online is a double-edged sword.
Finding Information on the Internet
The internet is a great way for people to find out more on breast cancer, including risks, signs and symptoms, and treatment options. This is especially important for people who may not have family doctors or who may be too timid to speak up during appointments. Information available online may be reassuring during difficult times.
People from all over the world use the internet to find information about health topics – over 40% of patients with breast cancer logged on to find more information. But one danger is the amount of misleading information that is available online. Incorrect information can lead patients to self-diagnose or to treat serious conditions at home when medical treatment is necessary.
Furthermore, some people who believe they’re ill when they aren’t may be further influenced by information on the internet. WebMD has an article about “Cyberchondria” – how it’s easier for people to develop hypochondriac tendencies because of the glut of information available online.
Raising Awareness and Money*
You can find statistics about breast cancer by heading to the sites of organizations like Susan G. Komen and the American Cancer Society. If you’re looking for a way to get involved with events in your community, these organizations can point you toward local races and fundraising opportunities, too.
If you’re donating money, be aware of where your money is going. Use the internet to research organizations before handing over your hard-earned cash to ensure the money is going where you intended.
A Worldwide Community
For the most part, the internet is beneficial. Breast cancer survivors and their loved ones can log on to chat rooms and forums to connect with other people who have faced similar struggles. These online communities can provide a way to make friends and get guidance as those affected struggle with diagnosis, treatments or even the death of loved ones.
For people who don’t have a strong support network in person, the internet can be invaluable in providing a sense of community. However, it isn’t without risks, as internet predators sometimes log on to support websites specifically to take advantage of people in vulnerable positions.
There’s no denying that the internet has been a boon for the community surrounding breast cancer. But if used incorrectly, it can also be a problem, the best course of action is to educate yourself to be safe.
Today’s Guest Blogger is Nikki Longo
Nikki Longo is a writer based off the east coast. When she’s not writing you can find her hiking, at the dog park or in the kitchen cooking up a (delicious) storm. Feel free to contact her at [email protected]
*Bakes for Breast Cancer is a non-profit breast cancer organization raising money for breast cancer research. Please donate and help us find a cure for breast cancer which touches so many people, both men and women we know and love. Your help not only during our events or Breast Cancer Awareness Month can make the difference!