Is That Healthcare Website Making You Sick?

Dr. Nanette Santoro, a professor at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, tells the story of Beth, a friend who at age 46 was diagnosed with uterine cancer. In Dr. Santoro’s words, “Beth began pursuing all sorts of holistic and ‘alternative’ treatments for her cancer,” despite the fact that the medical experts she consulted recommended a hysterectomy. Instead of following her doctors’ advice, Beth went on a strict macrobiotic diet, insisting that it made her feel great. Eventually, the cancer spread to her bones. She became critically ill and died.

While Dr. Santoro does not mention who advised her friend to follow this diet rather than opt for surgery, odds are good Beth consulted health-related websites–and found advice with varying degrees of quality.

Many healthcare websites provide valuable information that can help prepare you for the next doctor’s visit. But some serve up misinformation that just might land you in the hospital. Here’s how to tell the difference