Web sites provide different types of health information: some may be quite technical, others anecdotal, and still others may be designed to primarily market commercial products or services. It is important for you to know who is responsible for creating and supporting the content and to evaluate the information for its pertinence to your needs and interests. Someone doing a term paper on "breast cancer," as an example, will need to look at information sources from a different perspective than a 54-year-old woman who has been diagnosed with stage II infiltrating ductal carcinoma with positive estrogen receptors who needs to make a treatment decision.
Internet resources are information components and not necessarily the definitive accumulation of knowledge on a single topic. Therefore it is important not to overlook other sources of information that may be valuable to you, such as printed books, current journal articles, video and audio tapes, and the advice and experience of a licensed health professional.
How Recent is This Information?
Health information is not static or finite. One cannot assume that information found on the Internet is necessarily the "latest" research on a topic. In a printed book or journal you can check the copyright date; with Internet resources it can be more difficult to discern when the content was originally researched or written. Be aware that when a web site displays "date last updated" it may refer to the date some part of the information was changed, not necessarily verification of the currency of the information therein.
Some websites evaluating information on the web:
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