Cancer charity hires digital nurse to bust myths online

October 31st, 2017
Cancer charity hires digital nurse to bust myths online

One of the country’s leading cancer charities, Macmillan Cancer Support, has hired a digital nurse to try and bust myths online and ensure patients have access to accurate information.

Ellen McPake, from Glasgow, has been employed by the charity to help people find accurate information about cancer and enable them to get answers to their questions. Research shows that two-fifths of people try and find information about a cancer diagnosis online, and 1 in 8 of these people go online because they didn’t fully understand the information their doctor gave them. Ellen said that many people hear the word cancer and then they automatically close down, leaving them with questions and concerns. It’s difficult to take in information a doctor is giving you when you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, and sadly, this means that many people resort to the Internet, which sometimes leads them to inaccurate information.

Ellen said that there is a lot of misinformation out there and it’s common for people to come across myths, which may either make them feel worse about their diagnosis or give them false hope. Common online myths include the notions that sodium carbonate can cure cancer and sugar gives you cancer. While working on the support line, Ellen has come across numerous patients asking about remedies, chemicals or ingredients that can either cause cancer or improve symptoms. The truth is that there’s no evidence to suggest that sodium carbonate benefits cancer patients, and it can actually be damaging to the kidneys. While obesity can contribute to an increased risk of some forms of cancer, sugar cannot cause cancer or accelerate the growth of tumours.

Ellen said that the consequences of receiving inaccurate information can often be very distressing for patients. She had a tragic experience with a couple who had parted with their savings for vitamin C treatment, which they had been told would cure cancer. Vitamin C is beneficial for general health and immunity, but it does not cure cancer and the patient in question was devastated to find that he had paid out huge sums of money for nothing in return.

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