How to Avoid Cancer Information Overload

cancer patient with tablet main image

Facing cancer is likely one of the most difficult experiences of your life. For some, hearing the diagnosis from your doctor can be almost numbing. Then starts the paperwork, the appointments, and the deluge of information.

Information Plus

Your doctor, your neighbor, the Internet—information is everywhere. Personal experiences, breaking news, statistics, treatment options, prognoses and more. It can be downright overwhelming.

Believe it or not, there is a name for this condition: Cancer Information Overload.

Managing a Cancer Diagnosis

By taking a breath and following some basic guidelines, it is possible to stay informed and actively participate in your cancer treatment without drowning in information.

  • Talk with your providers. Tell them if you feel overwhelmed by anything they shared or you read on your own. Discuss your fears and expectations. Together, you can set goals for treatment.
  • Focus on the resources staff members recommend. At the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute we encourage you to do your own research, but we want to be sure you rely on resources that are based on science and fact.
  • Ask questions to help clarify information your care team provides. Ask again and ask often. They are there to help you.
  • Bring a companion to your first appointment as allowed. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it can be hard to concentrate and remember important information. A companion can take notes, ask questions, and support you throughout your treatment. Just check with your provider before your appointment. We regret that the COVID-19 pandemic has modified visitation policies at many healthcare facilities.
  • Tap into support services. Your oncologist isn’t the only person you can turn to. Support staff, including nurse navigators, social workers, nurses, and financial, spiritual, and mental health counselors, are great resources.

Don’t face Cancer Information Overload alone. Surround yourself with people who have the compassion and expertise to help.

author name

Randall A. Oyer, MD

Randall A. Oyer, MD, is medical director of the Cancer and Cancer Risk Evaluation programs at the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute and a physician with LG Health Physicians LG Health Physicians.

Education: Medical School–Georgetown University School of Medicine; Residency and fellowship–Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Call: 717-544-9400

About LG Health Hub

The LG Health Hub features breaking medical news and straightforward advice to help individuals of all ages make healthy choices and reach their wellness goals. The blog puts articles by trusted Lancaster General Health clinical experts, good 'n healthy recipes, videos, patient stories, and health risk assessments at your fingertips.


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