To take advantage of the interactive features, please download the chapter to your local system. (939 KB)

Publication Date



Information is exploding at an exponential rate. Because there is a flood of medical information on the Internet, it can be difficult to wade through the many resources to determine what information is best to use in practice. The intent of this chapter in Cancer Concepts: A Guidebook for the Non-Oncologist is to help the health care provider find reliable online cancer information. To help inform clinical decision making, health science librarians continue to address this rapidly growing body of literature by analyzing resources and identifying the highest quality information available on the Internet.

The concept of Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) is important to understand, as well as the process needed to find literature supporting EBM. Why EBM? EBM is "the conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients."

Making evidence-based clinical decisions is not about intuition, but finding reliable, up-to-date literature and using it in combination with clinical expertise and patient choice. Once a source for free online quality literature is located, a health care provider can consider the best current evidence to thoroughly answer clinical questions.


University of Massachusetts Medical School


Worcester, MA


health information literacy, cancer, information resources, online health information, health website evaluation, evidence-based medicine, National Library of Medicine, PubMed, open access


Information Literacy | Medical Education | Neoplasms | Oncology


This project has been funded in whole or in part with federal funds from the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, under Contract No. HHSN276201100010C with the University of Massachusetts, Worcester.

Updated edition dated November 8, 2017 posted on December 8, 2017.

Supporting Cancer Knowledge Needs Using Online Information



Creative Commons

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License