Have you done this?
You have a doctor's appointment to discuss a certain issue, or symptom, that you're concerned about. You've done research on the internet, and you have questions as a result. In the doctor's office, perhaps you ask the questions -- or maybe you don't. Perhaps you somehow feel that to say "I read this on the Internet" feels like second-guessing the doctor.
(And perhaps your brain chatter in the background goes something like this: My doctor had years of medical training, and I'm going to challenge her with something I just read on the computer? I probably got it wrong anyway, and I'll just make a fool of myself. Or she'll think I don't trust her. Or he'll think I'm a hypochondriac. Or...)
Well, maybe this story will help you be more forthcoming next time you're in this situation. A new study says that cancer patients who research their disease -- on the Internet and in other ways -- are more likely to get the latest treatments from their doctors.
The research was done at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and studied 633 patients with colon cancer. They wanted to find out how many of the patients received either of two new therapies for the disease, and, if so, how many of them learned about it from places other than their doctor.
The researchers found that people who researched their own disease using the internet, the television and other media were 2.8 times more likely to have heard about these newer therapies and 3.2 times more likely to have gotten them, compared to those who did not research their disease.
"These high levels of treatment information-seeking were very strongly associated with both awareness of new novel therapies for colon cancer, and also [the] patient's report of receiving those therapies," said Dr. Stacy Gray, the lead researcher. "Information-seeking may have the potential to influence the treatments patients receive, and potentially their medical outcome."
Here's the whole story:
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