An upcoming report from the Pew Internet Project and the California HealthCare Foundation shows, however, that people turn to health professionals for some types of information and to fellow patients, family, and friends for other types.
Professionals, such as doctors and nurses, are the most likely source for people who want to get an accurate medical diagnosis, information about alternative treatments, a recommendation for a doctor or specialist, and a recommendation for a hospital or other medical facility.
Peers, such as fellow patients, family, and friends, are the most likely source for people who want emotional support in dealing with a health issue or a quick remedy for an everyday health issue.
When it comes to practical advice for coping with day-to-day health situations, people are as likely to turn to peers as they are to turn to professionals.
Most of these conversations happen offline, but the upcoming report also shows that about one in five internet users has gone online to find others who might have health concerns similar to theirs. The internet connects people across geographical boundaries, which is especially important for people living with rare cancers.