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How to Find Reliable Health Information on the Internet

How can I be sure the information I find on the Internet or receive via e-mail is accurate?
With the growing popularity of the Internet, it has become easier and faster to access health information. However, the Internet also allows rapid and widespread distribution of false and misleading health information. It is important for people to carefully consider the source of the information and discuss the information they find with their health care provider.

There are resources to help people find reliable health information on the Internet. The National Cancer Institute's cancerTrials website includes a document called 10 Things to Know about Evaluating Medical Resources on the Web to assist Internet users in identifying reliable Web sites that provide health information.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has online guides to help Internet users determine whether the information they find on the Web is reliable. The FTC also investigates complaints about false or misleading health advertisements posted on the Internet.

How can I find reliable health information on the Internet?
Many Government agencies that focus on health-related issues maintain Web sites that have reliable information. A list of some sources of online health information can be found in the Cancer Resources section of the Cancer Information Service (CIS) website.

I received an unsolicited e-mail warning of cancer-causing chemicals in common household products. Where can I go to verify the accuracy of such information?
Any e-mail messages should be carefully evaluated. The origin of the message and its purpose should be considered. Some companies or organizations use e-mail to advertise certain products or attract people to their Web sites. The accuracy of health information may be influenced by the desire to promote a product or service.

Medical information received via e-mail or through the Internet should be discussed with a health care provider. A list of Government agencies that provide reliable information about medicines, herbs, vitamins, chemicals, and/or medical devices is available in the Cancer Resources section of the CIS website.