In this day and age, anyone can publish “news” online – it’s inexpensive, quick, and looks official without much of an investment from the publisher. When it comes to mesothelioma and cancer news, it can be challenging to determine whether online content is accurate or even truthful. You may come across articles or blogs with seemingly valuable, seemingly groundbreaking, and even life-saving information, but is it true? How can you ascertain if the information provided is truly all those or even any of those things? Here are some guidelines to help you weed through the noise and prevent you from wasting your time and hope.
Who published it and what’s in it for them? Is the publisher a person or group you are personally familiar with? If not, ask yourself: could this website/person have an agenda? Is the purpose of the website to recruit mesothelioma patients for legal purposes, is the website selling something, is it creating content to enable it to sell ads? Who funds the website and where does the financial funding come from?
Most articles pertaining to mesothelioma are backed by some kind of legal marketing website. These websites sometimes appear to be nonprofit organizations, though they are not. To find out if that’s the case, scroll to the very bottom of the page and read the fine print. If the website is backed by a law firm, you will see a statement listing the sponsoring firm or acknowledging attorney advertising. Next, look for an “about” section as well as a less apparent “disclaimers” page. If you determine that your source is a nonprofit organization, look it up on www.charitynavigator.com to see if it is legitimate. Just because a website URL ends in “.org” does not make the website a nonprofit organization.
Check dates: Be sure to look for the date an article was published and the dates of studies that are cited within the article. Find out where the underlying research was initially published, when it was published, and by which journal. Googling the journal can help you understand if it is legitimate or not.
Is the information presented too good to be true? If so, it’s probably not true. However, in that case, it may be useful to go through the steps outlined above and check your sources.
Check www.snopes.com: From time to time, we see articles pertaining to cancer cures and prevention that are not just misleading, but patently false. Following such advice is not only a waste of time, but can be harmful. Find out if stories are true on snopes.com. Snopes’ researchers do most of the work for you saving you valuable time.
What to do when you see an article citing misleading or false information being shared on social media? Our friends and families mistakenly post false information. Please take the time to let them know when the information they post is not accurate.
Questions? If you areunsure if information you’re reading is correct or not, ask us. If we don’t know the answer, we will pose it to one or more members of our esteemed Science Advisory Board or other medical professionals affiliated with us.