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Sandra Ruland, RN, OCN, says she has to strike a delicate balance when talking to patients about how they use the internet to research their cancer.
On the one hand, it's important to keep communication open and to appreciate patients' resourcefulness, said Ruland, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) program nurse at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
On the other hand, the internet can be a scary place for newly diagnosed patients. What they find there can depress their mood, which can affect their treatment.
Further, she said, people with cancer can come in with alternative treatment options that just aren't a good idea. In that case, she says she refers them to people at Dana-Farber who specials in safe non-standard approaches.