Bogus Online Cancer Info Common and Can Be Dangerous

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By Denise Mann
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, July 28, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Don't judge everything you work connected societal media astir crab and cancer treatment.

A caller survey finds that one-third of the astir fashionable articles connected societal media astir attraction for communal cancers contains misinformation -- and astir of it tin beryllium downright dangerous.

"The worst-case script is erstwhile it leads to a idiosyncratic declining proven crab treatments successful favour of a attraction that has not been shown to efficaciously dainty cancer," said survey writer Dr. Skyler Johnson. "These inherent dangers compromise our quality arsenic oncologists to cure cancer, amended survival, oregon astatine the slightest widen and amended prime of life."

Consider these fraudulent claims, for instance: "Chemotherapy is ineffective for the attraction of cancer," oregon "cannabis cures lung cancer," oregon "prostate cancer tin beryllium cured by baking soda."

Articles with this benignant of misinformation get much clicks and engagement than those based connected facts, the survey found.

And specified misinformation tin effect successful the hold of due crab screening, diagnosis and treatment, said Johnson, a physician-scientist astatine the Huntsman Cancer Institute astatine the University of Utah.

His squad identified 200 of the astir fashionable articles astir breast, lung, prostate and colon cancers connected Facebook, Reddit, Twitter and Pinterest betwixt January 2018 and December 2019. Experts from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network reviewed the posts for accuracy.

Of the 200 articles, astir 33% contained misinformation. Of these, astir 77% had accusation that could negatively power attraction outcomes. Many of the clicks, likes and comments occurred connected Facebook, the survey showed.

Much of the harmful contented originated from New Age websites, not reputable quality sources, but Johnson said it tin beryllium hard to archer the difference.

"Be alert that overmuch of the accusation needs to beryllium evaluated critically, due to the fact that determination is simply a accidental that what you mightiness beryllium speechmaking is inaccurate oregon perchance harmful," Johnson said. "Discuss your questions with your oncologist and enactment unneurotic arsenic a squad to travel up with a attraction program that meets your goals."

Going forward, Johnson wants to place predictors of misinformation and harm connected societal media successful bid to assistance patients and doctors amended navigate this Wild West.

The findings were precocious published successful the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Unfortunately, the question of online misinformation comes arsenic nary astonishment to Dr. S. Vincent Rajkumar, a prof of medicine astatine the Mayo Clinic successful Rochester, Minn., who reviewed the survey findings.

This is not to accidental that societal media doesn't person thing affirmative to connection radical with cancer, helium added.

"Social media sites tin connection societal enactment oregon tips connected coping with broadside effects of crab therapy," said Rajkumar, who is besides exertion successful main of Blood Cancer Journal. "For aesculapian advice, however, it's ever amended to trust connected your physician, an world center, oregon a authorities enactment similar the National Institutes of Health."

More information

The American Cancer Society offers tips connected searching online for accusation astir cancer.

SOURCES: Skyler Johnson, MD, physician-scientist, Huntsman Cancer Institute, and adjunct professor, radiation oncology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City; S. Vincent Rajkumar, MD, professor, medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.; Journal of the National Cancer Institute, July 22, 2021

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