Half of all attempts to self diagnose an illness using Google could leave people fearing they have cancer, a study reveals.
Some 47 per cent of searches for an illness — such as headache — returned at least one result for the disease on the first page.
Doctors warn that information online can be unreliable and increase anxiety.
Researchers from medical firm, Bupa, found half of the search results for constipation and one in three for sore throat suggested cancer.
Brits google cancer-related words, including tumour, 1.5 million times a month — once every 1.7 seconds.
The most searched — pancreatic, skin and bowel cancer — share symptoms with many other conditions.
Six in 10 of persons admit using internet search engines to help identify an illness. But half do not visit a GP after browsing online, the Bupa poll found.
Many fear wasting the doctor’s time or are too scared.
Prof. Helen Stokes-Lampard, of the Royal College of GPs, said websites like NHS Choices, are reputable.
She added: “Dr. Google is not a trained professional. There is a lot of misleading health information out there.”