It’s the Internet Age. Information is available right at our fingertips, and it’s frequently assumed that we are deferring to reliable sources, providing only the facts. Particularly when it comes to health and serious surgical procedures like breast reconstruction, it is imperative to filter out the vast amount of misinformation you may come across.
A recent study published in the ScienceDirect Journal posed an excellent question: “The Internet: What are our patients exposed to when considering breast reconstruction following mastectomy”. The results may incite you to think more critically about how this information is derived, and if it is truly medically sound.
The aforementioned study arose from the observation of a major shift in the relationships between healthcare providers and their patients. More and more, people are using the Internet as their initial and primary health resource, rather than consulting with a medical professional. It’s a major concern, and it is crucial that the medical community participates in educating the public about its potential and serious implications.
Online queries were conducted on two major search engines. Researchers recorded the top 100 results after entering the phrase “breast reconstruction after mastectomy”. The combined data showed that an overwhelming majority – 67% – were websites from private companies, advertising private healthcare groups. On their “information” pages, 16% were government sites and 9% were from professional entities. The remaining 28%? Private blogs containing numerous, cleverly disguised advertisements.
Be cautious when consulting the Internet for information on breast reconstruction, or any other health-related issues. Most importantly, before moving forward with any procedure, please consult with a professional!
Here are some guidelines from the FDA on how to evaluate health information on the Internet.
Trusted websites commonly referred to for sound information:
- Susan G. Komen
- The American Cancer Society
- The American Association of Plastic Surgeons
- The Breast Cancer Resource Center
Always trust an experienced medical professional over online research. Dr. Elisabeth Potter, M.D. is dedicated to providing the best techniques for breast reconstruction surgery. Together, you can decide what is best for your specific needs and reconstructive goals. Call 512-324-2765 or click here to schedule a consultation today.