How to find reliable and accurate cancer information online

For many, being diagnosed with cancer is a huge shock. Often people say they feel overwhelmed, worried about what happens next or they start thinking about the impact on their life and the lives of those around them. And, whilst asking questions can make it easier to cope during diagnosis and treatment, it is not always easy to know where to turn to for accurate and up to date information and advice.

Macmillan Cancer Support has been working with NHS 24 to create Info For Me an online tool which provides personalised information across a range of health conditions, including cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery along with more general guidance on health and wellbeing.

Info For Me allows a person to collate reliable health content across a range of topics which are relevant to them and collate this into a booklet or PDF which can be printed, saved or sent via email.

The tool, which has been three years in development, is available to anyone who needs it. More than 300 people, from patients and carers, to doctors and nurses were consulted in its development and has been tested by health boards across Scotland. It is also supported by Macmillan Cancer Support’s Information and Support service at Glasgow Libraries where feedback from users has been overwhelmingly positive.

The simplicity of the site navigation has been praised – the site is set up like an online shop, but rather than buying objects, a person collects information and then creates their own leaflet based on that content.

Info For Me also works side by side with NHS informs translation tool (Browsealoud), which allows any selected content across the website to be translated to a variety of languages. This innovation will allow NHS Boards and Stakeholders to reduce the need for hard copy translations of common health leaflets and information, reducing costs as well as improving access to health information for marginalised groups.

Info For Me will support health professionals in their day-to-day work. Rather than handing a patient a generic information leaflet about their illness, staff will be able to provide information which is tailored to each individuals need.

The tool is also there for people when they need it most and will help the self management of their illness. Knowing what is happening and why, will not only make someone feel more involved in their care, but can help making decisions easier. Macmillan Cancer Support wants to make sure that no one in Scotland faces cancer alone, and by having developed Info For Me, we are now one step closer to making this a reality.

by Kevin Hutchinson, Macmillan National Strategy Manager

About Kevin:

Kevin works for NHS 24 and has helped to develop the Info for Me tool. His role is funded by Macmillan.