Think you have cancer?
By Mark J. Ott, MD
May 15, 2018
Updated Oct 25, 2023
5 min read
It’s a familiar news headline: Studies link XYZ to cancer. And whether XYZ means poor diet, lack of sleep, cell phone use, or using certain products, it can be hard to sort through the clutter to find reliable health information about cancer.
Below I’ve listed a few things to be wary of when seeking credible information about cancer, along with some reputable sources, so you can make the best decisions for your health.
It may sound oversimplified, but eating healthy, avoiding tobacco and alcohol and maintaining a healthy body weight all reduce the risk of cancer. I like to call these things ‘the big four’ as they are preventative measures and reduce your risk of cancer by 50-67 percent. Additionally, if you do receive a cancer diagnosis – despite doing everything correctly – you’ll also respond better to treatments, be it surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy.
When doing your research, there is lots of information competing for your attention. It’s important to make sure the organization distributing the information has your best interest at heart.
A simple “what causes cancer” search in Google or another search engine can display a host of results – some reliable and some not. Consider these:
First and foremost, your physician is your best resource for cancer detection and prevention. If you have symptoms and wonder if they are cancerous, talking to your physician is a great starting point. He or she can do an exam, order tests or direct you to a specialist.
The American Cancer Society website is also an excellent source of understandable information about cancer prevention, detections, treatments, and statistics. It is well organized and written to educate the lay public as well as those needing credible facts about cancer. To first learn more about these topics before or after consulting a physician, this is an excellent single source of credible information.
So the next time you’re evaluating your symptoms or considering treatment, do your research and go to your physician with specific questions. With all of the information swirling around, it’s important to make sure you are consulting with the right sources so you can make informed decisions about your health.