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PODCAST: Everybody is an expert … not!

Published on | Eric Brown


How do you find reliable, credible, accurate information when it comes to your breast health?

So much information is available literally at our fingertips when we search the web on a myriad of subjects, and breast cancer seems to be an especially popular topic.

Comprehensive Breast Care surgeons Eric Brown, MD; Linsey Gold, DO; and Ashley Richardson, DO; discussed this topic on a recent podcast to help consumers better understand how to navigate through the endless information on the internet, which often is not scientifically factual.

One of the best resources for reliable, credible, accurate and up-to-date information is a health care provider’s site. When searching the web for general information on breast cancer, good sites are those with an “org,” or an “edu,” the breast surgeons find.

Always remember: no information should replace seeing a doctor or other health professional who can give you advice specific to you and your medical condition.


Tune in on Apple Podcasts, Google Play,   or listen wherever you get your podcasts.

Comprehensive Breast Care recently launched “The Breast of Everything,” a podcast series designed to serve as a trusted resource for breast health information, support and encouragement.

If you have a subject you would like the surgeons to discuss, please email your ideas to https://compbreastcare.com. The doctors want to hear from you! The views, thoughts and opinions shared in “The Breast of Everything” podcasts are intended for general educational and informational purposes only and should not be substituted for medical advice, treatment or care from your physician or health care provider. Always consult your health care provider first.


Unknown Speaker 0:00
Welcome to the breast of everything podcast your trusted resource for breast health information, support and encouragement. Your hosts today are Dr. Eric Brown, Dr. Lindsay gold. And Dr. Ashley Richardson of comprehensive breast care. Welcome.

Unknown Speaker 0:17
Hello, everyone, and welcome to the best of everything podcast. I’m Dr. Aisha Richardson of comprehensive breast care. And I am joined by my partner’s Dr. Lindsay gold and Dr. Rick Brown. On today’s podcast, we’ll be discussing how everyone is actually not an expert on breast cancer treatment and management. We will talk about how to find reliable, credible and accurate information about your breast health, which does not come from Facebook or Instagram. In our world of social media, there’s so much information readily available at our fingertips. Although that may be useful, it is important to recognize the source of information and determine what is anecdotal, from what is actual truth. I

Unknown Speaker 0:52
think it’s one of the biggest challenges facing really doctors in general, but certainly cancer doctors. There’s just so much excess and so much out there. And I find often I get distracted during my presentation. Because either the patient or more typically the person that came with the patient, has an article has some website printed off with some anecdotal piece of evidence that’s not at all germane to the patient, to the part of the discussion that you’re at. And it slows things down. And I think it’s detrimental.

Unknown Speaker 1:32
Yeah, this topic came about because I had seen an actually a really funny meme. I think it was on Facebook, but I’m not sure. And the meme basically showed a timeline that said in the 80s, scientists were considered the go to experts for reliable health information. And then the 1990s it was PhD students became the source. And then the early 2000s. It was the media that we trusted. And of course, today it was, quote, Karen on Facebook seems to know what’s best for us. But it was funny and amusing. But you know, there’s truth in jest. So I remember we all started talking about this topic, which is how we got here from our blog. But it really, in all seriousness, can be a big issue, I usually start my consults out, like when I’m talking in the room and examining patients, I asked everybody, how much did you Google. And if somebody says that they didn’t, I’m generally shocked. That actually happened today, a couple told me they didn’t even have a computer. And my first thought was, boy, your life must be great. But usually, I just anticipate that they come in with a whole bunch of, you know, maybe reliable, probably not reliable information. And it is a channel and you brought up the media. And I mean, I think that became even much more evident during the pandemic, during the pandemic, everything was out there, and the television and newspaper and on the internet, and ways to address the virus, how to go about your daily business. And that’s even more prevalent, especially when we talk about breast cancer care and treatment. Those same sources are where people are getting their information. And although there’s data and facts out there, it’s hard to weed out what is the actual truth,

Unknown Speaker 3:24
it makes it even more challenging when you think about the fact that not only Karen on Facebook, but the news. So people watch the news to get information. And they have a reporter that is going to report on a new breakthrough in breast cancer treatment. And the breakthrough might be attributable to 5% of people with breast cancer. It makes the new information or data super exciting to people like us. But patients here just bits and pieces of the report, and then immediately think it is germane to their cancer treatment and want to know, how is this going to fit into what you’re going to do for me. So those types of myths, those types of unrelated bits of information that are out there are part of what we do on a daily basis when trying to really put together a treatment program for somebody and have to spend some time explaining why that’s not necessarily something that would affect their treatment. You

Unknown Speaker 4:36
know, I remember the first time I saw in a magazine, the term advertorial, right, like an advertisement editorial. And I thought, Hmm, that’s strange. And then I think to myself, well, you know, people don’t know what they don’t know. So they’re looking for information, right. And I think some of direct to consumer marketing and stuff Some of the stuff that comes out there, it’s impossible for patients to tell the difference between a marketing strategy from a company whose main goal is to sell XYZ product versus something that, you know, is actually, you know, scientifically, factual. And of course, in the beginning, well, at any time, you know, people just really yearn for information. So, so it can be, it can be really tough. I don’t mind but I’m sorry, go ahead. I was gonna say I don’t, I don’t mind when people look up information. Before they come to their console, I think it’s good when they hear the words, if they have no medical background, it may you know, the, ask your doctor, these things, they may come in with a list, I’m fine with all of that. The only thing that will get my goat sometimes is when I lay out the reasoning for my recommendations, or I give my educational schpeel. And then they choose to believe the internet over me that that’s a hard pill for me to swallow, as it were, because that’s very frustrating. I just want to shake them.

Unknown Speaker 6:21
It’s so true. And I think that, on top of that, when when you have to look at patients that are choosing alternative routes, because of what they read, or because of what they heard, I think a lot of people want things to be true, they may not necessarily believe that they’re true, they just want them to be true. I mean, wouldn’t it be great, if you could go get ozone therapy, and cure your breast cancer, we all would love that. It’s just not true. So when you’re out there on the internet, and needless to say, one link takes you to three others. And now you’ve kind of found yourself in a swirl of people that are trying to tell you that this is the right way to go. And it must be true because it’s on the internet. It’s it’s based on an desire in myth rather than actual scientific evidence and data. And so when you present it that way, as we all do exactly what you were saying, Lindsay, and then you you kind of have to stop yourself and think who were Where are you making a decision to go that route? After everything we just went through,

Unknown Speaker 7:40
I always have that same discussion with patients. And you know, I often find myself telling them, you will always find something on the internet to support your opinions or your thought process. I use the election, for example. So if you support one party, you’ll always find something there that will validate your thought process. If you support the other party, there’s tons of stuff out there as well. So I said it’s the same thing with breast cancer treatment. If you think like you mentioned ozone therapy or vitamin E infusions, or walking on the grass and absorbing Earth’s energy, you know, you’ll find something out there. But again, you have to consider your source and the credibility and then take into account the years of medical training that we have in the recommendations that we’re giving, as opposed to what you may have found online. And when you really paint that picture for them, you know, you kind of can hone that back in on Okay, let’s go forth with kind of standard of care recommendations.

Unknown Speaker 8:30
And I know that we’re gonna, we have a podcast coming up on integrative medicine and talking about kind of using traditional treatments as well as some more holistic or natural treatments. But, you know, with the Earth’s energy and ozone, you know, these are big decisions that women are making and men. And it’s not I tell patients, listen, this is not like painting the walls of your living room, that you could walk in there in a month and think early eggplant, whose idea was that? So you put a primer on and you put blue, but when you’re wrong in our world, and something metastasizes, you can’t and metastasize that and so the decisions are so critical. And I don’t think any of us want to come across as though we feel our way is the only way. But there needs to be dialogue on the patient side. And then the patient’s family and then their support network. Not just what you want to be true, but what the reality is and what you have to do.

Unknown Speaker 9:39
Yeah, I I oftentimes will try to appeal to people’s sort of common senses, if you will. Like you said, Rick, you know, if something were that easy, if a treatment were just that easy. Wouldn’t we recommend it to all patients, right? Or I say I would do that. If it was So simple. In that sort of, then circles back to people discussing their conspiracy theories. And their, you know, government has the cure to cancer and Big Pharma. And so I do the best I can to try and debunk those myths. But yet, it’s a fine line, because I really feel that I do have to be respectful to their point of view, and try to treat them as a whole, I’m always comfortable, if you if a patient chooses to go an alternative route or decline a particular treatment that is being recommended. So long as I feel they heard what I had to say, they understood what I had to say. And then they still made their own choice. I mean, we are talking about adults. So sometimes I think, I hear through patients that colleagues who I know, are excellent clinicians generally have good bedside manner, you know, I would go to them myself, sometimes I hear from patients who are, you know, kind of, you know, on either ends of the bell curve, that, you know, they feel disrespected, because, you know, so and so said, it’s my way or the highway sort of thing. So it is a, it is a fine line between maintaining, you know, a trusting relationship in a respectful relationship with the patient. And yet trying to deliver the best care possible, I think we all try and get that across to our patients. And I do something very similar. I always say, you know, you have to live in you, you have to make these decisions, and you have to live with them. But our job is to make sure that they make an educated decision. And the same thing with the holistic integration, you know, I’m fine if they add all of that stuff in conjunction with the standard recommendations, and we talk about that all the time. And often patients just want to be heard, they just want to say, Well, this is how I’m feeling. This is what I’d like to do, what are your thoughts on this. And as long as like you said, sometimes other practitioners, they may pigeonhole them into a decision. And I try really hard to just say, you have to make this decision. And my job is to help guide you make the best decision, but at the end of the day, the decision lies within them. And sometimes one of the best feelings is when a patient will come to me for a second opinion. And they’ll say, Wow, you said exactly the same thing as the other provider. And that I often say, well, that’s good, it’s great that we’re all on the same page, it’s great that the recommendations are the same, because then again, you’re not getting your medical information off the internet, you’re getting it from two very educated providers, and we have the same recommendations, it’s always good to be consistent, I

Unknown Speaker 12:45
definitely think that the consistency and hearing things, again, do help to reinforce treatment decisions, and recommendations. I think, also when, when you really get down into the weeds, you know, it takes time for a big website, like Take, for example, Web MD, for them to change their site and add new and updated information isn’t done as quickly as we can do in our practice, because we can just go to the website and make the change. But bigger sites that are very reputable, very helpful, typically are a little bit behind, not behind because they don’t care, but behind because it’s a big site, they have a whole team, they have to edit. And so even the information that somebody brings to the table is probably a little bit outdated, even when they’re at a reliable site and getting reliable information. So, you know, we it’s such a fine balance. Respect is huge. And I think we all all three of us in in the care we provide for our patients, you know, understand that this disease happens for reasons that are out of your control. And sometimes these things like looking at a website or coming in with a demand of this is what I want and this is how I want to be treated is just trying to pull control back to themselves. And I think as you kind of read the tea leaves it’s it’s a challenge and it’s certainly part of you know, it’s in the job description for us is to find the right way to communicate with patients will not disrespecting their beliefs, or just respecting what their goals and desires are.

Unknown Speaker 14:39
Absolutely. I mean, that’s probably the best way to say the art of medicine, right the art and science of medicine. I think the three of us routinely give our patients written information. Like you just said, Rick, our website is you know chock full of have fantastic and updated information. So for anybody who might be listening, who’s just diagnosed, or who has a friend that’s just diagnosed, that’s probably actually an excellent place to start is your care providers website. I mean, we all know that everybody goes to the internet. And so we take great care and pride in trying to keep our website easy to navigate, and up to date. So when somebody makes an appointment with us, you know, our staff does direct them towards the website for, you know, pretty good information, good links, and stuff like that. But when they’re in the office, I do give patients copies of their pathology reports, I give them, you know, go to information for when they need more, and they want to look it up, if they so choose, because then I can feel confident that I gave them, you know, as much solid information. And then again, they can choose to believe what they want. But hopefully, hopefully, they believe us. I also do the same and distribute their pathology reports and imaging reports at consults and the other you utility to that as well as they can take that at a later date. Because a lot of the times they don’t remember everything that you say at the consult, or you kind of lost them on a certain topic. And then they’re able to revisit that information and go back and Google it. I’ll give them specific websites that are great resources, as well as our comprehensive breast care website. Because ultimately, they want to have control and sometimes gaining more information to the topic helps give them a little bit more control. One of the biggest challenges in trying to explain to patients why their treatment recommendation may not be the same as their sisters, their mothers, their neighbors, their daughters, is because of the heterogeneity of breast cancer in general, I say to ladies, you know, there’s a minimum of 15 different histologic or cell types of breast cancer, and they’re very often treated differently. So it’s not just one thing, it’s not a cookie cutter, there’s a large umbrella that we call breast cancer. But underneath that umbrella, there’s lots of sub compartments. And so that’s why every person’s cancer is unique to themselves. In interestingly, you can have two totally different types of breast cancer in the same breast. Right. And so sometimes, a quote unquote, breast cancer will need two different treatments. And getting that point across to make them understand why, you know, Aunt Susie should not be directing their care is, I think, you know, one of the important parts of our job, I think one of the more challenging consults is when a new patient will come in with a new diagnosis. And they’ll bring a friend or a family member with them that is a cancer or breast cancer survivor. Although it’s very helpful from a support standpoint, and they have somebody that’s been through the process to show that they can overcome the disease, and go on to live a very long healthy life. The challenge for us as providers is trying to explain to them that their treatment may be very different than the person sitting next to them at the time of consult. And a lot of that comes with surgical intervention as well. We offer multiple different surgical options when it comes to breast cancer treatment. And if Sally sitting next to Mary had a mastectomy, then Mary automatically thinks that she needs a mastectomy also. And so sometimes dispelling what they think they are coming for, is a big burden or a bit of a hurdle at some at the consultation. And once you explain a things have changed over time from when maybe they were treated several years ago, but then be also what you mentioned that all breast cancers are different, and there’s an individualized approach to each person, then it’s better to establish that right off the bat, and the patients definitely do better over time. That’s very true. And the sort of corollary to that is that people experience what they experience and I try to, you know, assess the situation or read the tea leaves, as Rick says, that’s a that’s a good one. Because, you know, if you lived

Unknown Speaker 19:26
in a situation where all of your relatives had breast cancer, but they lived good long lives and none of them had their breasts removed, then, you know, keeping your breast or having a lumpectomy is sort of a very understandable unexpected thing to you. But you know, if everybody in your family lost their breast and had some horrible experience and you know, I don’t know died anyway or lived forever. You have a lot of people can have preconceived notions of treatment based on the outcomes of friends or family members, and you know, the all of the science on earth is not oftentimes going to change that. Because you know, you, you can’t unexperienced something. So again, trying to be respectful to them, but giving them you know, their best options.

Unknown Speaker 20:19
I think that although we come across probably in this podcast, kind of anti web, browsing, and Facebook, I don’t think that that’s the point that we’re that we’re trying to get across. I think, using caution when patients and families are out there searching the web, we know that a recent National Research Corporation study of 20,000 23,000 patients found that 41% use social media sites to look for health information. And about 30% of adults kind of self diagnose by going to the internet. So nobody is going to turn that off, the internet is going to be there forever. And it’s only going to get bigger. I think what all of us are really trying to say is just be careful. Not every bit of information that you read is exactly pertinent or germane to your particular cancer or your treatment. So, get information, be educated. That really does make our job easier when people have a background and an idea of what we’re going to talk about. But just don’t bring Karen on Facebook with you.

Unknown Speaker 21:34
Absolutely. Okay to do your research, good to do your research. Probably not on social media, though. Trusted websites.org.edu. Use things that are updated your own physicians website. Remember that every cancer is different. And people’s treatment protocols are therefore different and based on their own cancer. And I think as a patient, you deserve to be respected, even if your feeling is different than what the clinician is recommending. You deserve Of course, always to be respected for whatever choices you make about your own body.

Unknown Speaker 22:15
And always remember that no information should replace seeing and talking to your physician or health care professional.

Unknown Speaker 22:22
Thank you for listening to the rest of everything Podcast. I am Dr. Ashley Richardson,

Unknown Speaker 22:27
Dr. Rick Brown,

Unknown Speaker 22:28
Dr. Lynn people.

Unknown Speaker 22:30
Until next time, be healthy.

Unknown Speaker 22:33
You’ve been listening to the breast of everything podcast with your hosts and board certified breast surgeons, Dr. Eric Brown, Dr. Lindsay gold and Dr. Ashley Richardson of comprehensive breast care. If you have a subject you would like the surgeons to discuss, please submit your suggestions online at comp breast care. com. That’s co mp breastcare.com. The views thoughts and opinions shared in this podcast are intended for general education and informational purposes only and should not be substituted for medical advice, treatment or care from your physician or health care provider. Always consult your health care provider first.

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