Can We Trust ‘Dr. Google’?

A recent study suggests that it’s indeed possible to trust “Dr. Google.” Concerning ovarian cancer, researchers found that women search online for symptoms of the disease, such as weight loss and bloating, for up to a year before consulting a doctor.

Scientists from Imperial College London affirmed that this study demonstrates significant potential for early disease detection, based on analyzing Google search history of over 200 women.

Other studies support the usefulness of using “Dr. Google” as well. A study from Harvard Medical School in 2021 explained that checking symptoms online could lead to a correct diagnosis, contrary to popular belief.

However, caution is advised, as experts point out that online searches may increase anxiety rather than provide answers, and should not be considered a substitute for a real doctor.

Thorrun Govind, former president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in England, told MailOnline: “I appreciate that given the time it takes to access healthcare professionals, people may prefer to go online and try Dr. Google.”

He also said: “Dr. Google is not a substitute for a healthcare professional who can look at individuals in front of them, think about their identity, treatment risks and benefits, and provide more detailed advice.”

People should consult a doctor to determine the actual causes of symptoms and receive appropriate treatment. Pharmacies can also offer advice and information about available medications and treatments.

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