Hard truths or happy answers live at the fingertips of most cancer patients and survivors – typical treatment miseries, prognosis odds, recurrence risks.
Life or death, by the numbers.
For people with common cancers, such stats almost beckon from the Internet. Medical websites, posted journals, blogs and forums offer a tantalizing (maybe terrifying) treasure map of sorts – virtual pathways to help unearth possible outcomes for your specific disease.
To dig or not to dig: that is the question. And if you opt to shovel online, where do you hunt? How deep do you go?
“For some people, an excess of information may be counter-productive and may add to their anxiety,” said Dr. Jesse Fann, director of psychiatry and psychology services at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, the treatment arm of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
“For others, a wealth of information is reassuring and provides a sense of control over their situation. The important thing is that the person has enough accurate information to fully participate in treatment decisions and their overall medical care,” Fann said. “Each patient must find the right balance.”