is published by the Prostate Cancer Centre. We may be reached at: Gerald Brock, MD, FRCSC, Professor of Surgery Division of Urology Urology Program Director, University of Western Ontario The Wonderful World of Internet Medicine I f one tried to assess the impact of the integration of the “world wide web” (WWW) into our daily lives, it is perhaps most impressively demonstrated through its role in medicine. Regardless of what medical complaint or set of symptoms one has, the internet’s wide range of medical sites can provide information on diagnosis and treatment. In an ideal world, all this information would be credible, accurate and well directed. Unfortunately, the WWW is packed full of websites which are designed to entice viewers and con innocent readers out of money. In fact, recently the incidence of grey market and counterfeit drugs distributed over the internet has been recognized as a major health issue. The sales have increased by more than 90% over the last few years. I am often informed by my patients that they can purchase over the internet Viagara, Cialis, and Levitra, drugs commonly used for erectile dysfunction, for a fraction of the price they pay in Canada. In fact many of these same men report reasonable effectiveness of these pills and generally are quite pleased with their savings! The truth, of course, is that these counterfeit drugs are not produced in controlled, hygienic or regulated factories as they are in Canada, the US or Europe. They are produced in chemical factories away from government and regulatory review. The goal of their production supervisors is not drug integrity or safety or purity, but simply profit. While it’s tempting to believe the counterfeit products effect only erectile dysfunction drugs, cases involving fake vaccines, HIV drugs and other life-saving treatments have been documented, too often resulting in deaths of the unwitting. Also, medical websites which provide partial truths and outdated or incorrect medical information can be just as dangerous. Today’s wise internet browsers should restrict their surfing to reputable sites from known medical associations, universities or directly from government agencies. If a site has a portal that allows for discounted drugs, requires a fee for their information or provides individual healthcare assessments, my advice is “Caveat Emptor” (let the buyer beware). The internet is a great tool. The ability to review surgical procedures, gain understanding of a disease or evaluate treatment options proposed by your physician is a huge advance. Just use it as a tool and beware which sites you rely on. Design and printing by: Annex Publishing & Printing Inc., Simcoe, Ontario Prostate Cancer Centre 800 Commissioners Road, London, Ontario N6A 4G5 T: 519.685.8448 F: 519.685.8120 None of the conents of this newsletter may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means without the permission of the publisher. This publication should not be used for purposes of self-diagnosis or as an alternative to medical care. If you suspect you have cancer, consult a physician immediately. Letters-to-the-editor or ideas for articles may be submitted, in writing, to the above address. EDITORIAL BOARD Dr Glenn Bauman Medical Director, Genitourinary Disease Site Team Chair, Dept of Oncology London Regional Cancer Program London Health Sciences Centre Dr Joseph Chin Chief, Surgical Oncology London Regional Cancer Program London Health Sciences Centre John Hastie Patient Representative Dr Stephen Pautler Uro-Oncologist, St Joseph’s Health Care, London Wendy Shoff, R.N., CCRP Research Associate Division of Urology London Health Sciences Centre Dr Eric Winquist Medical Director, Clinical Cancer Research Program London Regional Cancer Program London Health Sciences Centre Supported by: The University of Western Ontario, Division of Urology.