About a year ago, I wrote about a story that ABC News had done on NHL, in response to an actor dying. It made me very angry -- it was misleading, squished all 40 or so types of NHL together, gave some downright dangerous misinformation, and just generally did a horrible job or informing anyone about NHL.
The Yahoo! page is worse, in some ways (though not all).
They make the same mistake of conflating different types of NHL, but even worse, they squish Hodgkin's and Myeloma in there, too. They have links to the individual general types of lymphoma, but they're not much better: a list of symptoms.
The lymphoma page itself has just a weird mix of information. There is mention of the different types of NHL ("at least 10"), and their different classifications, but even here, there are problems:
"grouped (staged) by how aggressively they grow: slow growing (low grade), intermediate growing, and rapidly growing (high grade); and how far they spread."
First, this is a misuse of the term "staged," which does have to do with "how far they spread," but not with how fast they grow. The "low grade/high grade" terminology is old; the preferred terms now are indolent and aggressive.
Under the "Diagnosis" section, the procedure that gets the most description is the Lymphangiogram, "an x-ray of the lymphatic system." True enough, but generally not done anymore. In fact, I've never heard of anyone getting one; they've been pretty well phased out, replaced by CT and PET scans.
The section on "Treatment" is devoted to acupuncture, hypnotherapy, and guided imagery. his comes after a paragraph saying that lymphoma is life-threatening, and you need chemotherapy and other traditional treatments. But then we get the alternative therapies for pain management. Eventually, we get the "allopathic treatments" -- that is, traditional Western medicine. Chemotherapy. Radiation. Bone Marrow Transplants.
Several problems here: First, radiation is used much less often in lymphoma -- at least in NHL -- than in other cancers. It's just too hard to hit a moving target, and that's what you have with a blood cancer. Second -- no mention of Rituxan? When was this written, in 1997?
Guess what: I think it was. Because the last section lists the References for this article, and this is what we get:
BOOKSDollinger, Malin, et al. Everyone's Guide to Cancer Therapy. Kansas City: Andrews McKeel Publishing, 1997.
Fauci, Anthony, et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1998.
Murphy, Gerald P. Informed Decisions: The Complete Book of Cancer Diagnosis, Treatment, and Recovery. New York: American Cancer Society, 1997.
PERIODICALS"Alternative Cancer Therapies Popular Today." Cancer. 77, no. 6 (March 1996).
Wow. The most recent thing you have on lymphoma was written in 1998? Yahoo! was incorporated in 1995, so it's possible this article hasn't been updated since 1998. Is it seriously possible that this article hasn't been updated in 14 years? Yes, I think it is indeed possible.
My only consolation is that few people have probably read this, anyway.
At least I hope so. But what if there are more people who turn to Yahoo as their information source? Yes, unlikely; they'll more likely to go to WebMD or even Wikipedia. But what if they don't?
The internet is a wonderful thing. But for a page that purports to try to help people -- on a site that is trying to focus more on content -- this is inexcusable.
Please, please look to multiple sources for information. Go to Lymphomation.org. Join a support group. And don't believe everything you read -- especially if it's 14 years old.