Wednesday 8th April 2020

If there’s something that’s stressing you out or something you’re not sure about, ask your doctors or nurses. It’s your body, so you’ve got every right to know what’s going on – and not knowing can make you imagine the worst. You might want to find out every detail or to keep your knowledge basic. It’s totally up to you.

If you start wanting to know more as your treatment goes on, just let your care team know. If you like, you can speak to them without your parents being there. And, if you’re over 16, you’ll be involved in decisions about your treatment, too.

Speaking to doctors and nurses

It’s ok to feel nervous before asking questions. Plenty of young people feel awkward discussing their bodies and their feelings (so do plenty of not-so young people). And you might feel worried about what you could find out.

Beware of Google!

Finding out about cancer can give you a better idea of what to expect and help you make better decisions about your treatment. But before you open your phone and hit Google, remember to click carefully. There’s a lot of good information out there, but there are also plenty of scare stories – and it’s easy to get sucked in and freak yourself out.

These are our top five tips for good searching: 

Use websites you trust

A lot of information online is out of date or just plain wrong. So try and stick with websites you know you can trust. You can always ask your doctors and nurses for recommendations. And it’s a good idea to look for the Information Standard logo, which means that all information is up to date and has been thoroughly checked by a range of experts.

For starters, we’d recommend taking a look around our website, which has links to a whole lot of other useful sites. And the NHS, Macmillan, Cancer Research UK and CLIC Sargent sites are all reliable places to go for info too. 

Don’t believe everything

We’d love there to be a miracle cure for illnesses and diseases. No doubt you would too. But while medicine is getting better all the time, it’s still the case that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

If you find yourself reading stories with headlines like ‘I cured my own cancer’ or ‘The facts the doctors won’t tell you’, tread very carefully. Ask yourself who posted this story and why. People upload all sorts of weird/fake/untrue things to the web (no kidding…). Chances are the site you’re on isn’t telling the whole story.

Remember that everyone is different

There are a lot of very powerful stories and blogs online written by people who have/have had cancer. Reading them can be a great way to feel less alone and to find out what treatments are really like.

But remember that everyone has a different experience of cancer. People are diagnosed at different stages. The same treatments work better for some people than others. And your age, your general health and a whole load of other things can make a difference too.

So bear in mind that if something has happened to someone else, that doesn’t mean it’ll happen to you.

Look for balance

If you read one article or site that seems very negative or very positive about a particular treatment, check other websites to see if you get a more balanced picture. A lot of people have strong opinions about cancer, but that doesn’t mean they’re always accurate… 

Use the web as a starting point

Think of the information you find online as a way to start conversations with your parents, doctors and nurses – rather than as the end of the conversation. Ask questions about what you find out and discuss it with other people to see what they think. You might find it helps to take printed articles with you when you’re meeting other people or going to appointments.