TA Palani shared this photo of Ras Al Khaimah taken dur­ing a road trip over Eid Al Fitr. Email your pho­tos to let­ters@7days.ae or tag @7DAYSUAE on so­cial me­dia

7 Days in Dubai - - DEAR 7 DAYS... -

t took me roughly five min­utes to come to the con­clu­sion I had can­cer. It started with a dodgy mole. Then a per­sis­tant cough. Fi­nally, I be­gan hav­ing headaches. Like any sen­si­ble grown-up I knew there was only one thing to do about such symp­toms, Google them. So I searched for symp­toms of skin can­cer to see if headaches and coughs were a sign. They weren’t. Un­de­terred, I clicked on metas­ta­sis, per­haps the can­cer had spread? Lo and be­hold when I typed headache, cough and can­cer into Google, I dis­cov­ered my skin can­cer had moved to the lung. I am 44, don’t smoke and was sat at my desk won­der­ing how my chil­dren would get on with­out a fa­ther. Of course, I didn’t have can­cer, just a dodgy mole, which the doc­tor later re­moved. Af­ter drink­ing more wa­ter, the headache went away and the cough was, well, a cough. The web is un­doubt­edly one of the great­est dis­cov­er­ies of the past cen­tury, but while it can be a valu­able tool, it can also be a dan­ger­ous weapon. I hadn’t been vis­it­ing cooky sites with names like wikidis­ease.com or what­cancer­doIhave.co.uk, I’d gone to trusted, au­tho­r­a­tive or­gan­i­sa­tions. Then I com­pletely ig­nored 98 per cent of what I read, fo­cussing only on in­for­ma­tion that sup­ported my para­noia-fu­elled self-di­ag­no­sis. Of course, I’m not alone, we all do it. Nor is this some­thing new. Be­fore the in­ter­net, peo­ple would flick through med­i­cal en­cy­clo­pe­dias. How­ever, it is wor­ry­ing how easy it is now to self-di­ag­nose. Of course, in my case, I wasn’t about to nip to the phar­macy for a box of chemo. How­ever, there are plenty of in­stances where peo­ple have popped pills that did more harm than good. For ex­am­ple, did you know that if you take aspirin ev­ery day, it can cause stom­ach bleed­ing? Or tak­ing the wrong anti-bi­otic can ac­tu­ally make it harder to treat an in­fec­tion? There are even in­stances of peo­ple com­mit­ting sui­cide rather than face a ter­mi­nal ill­ness they never had. I will cer­tainly think twice in the fu­ture be­fore go­ing all House MD again. Why? be­cause, as they say, a lit­tle knowl­edge is a dan­ger­ous thing.

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