Health information quality on the internet in gynecological oncology: A multilingual evaluation Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Oncological internet information quality is considered variable, but no comprehensive analysis of gynecological malig- nancies exists. The present authors' objectives were to compare the quality of common malignancy websites and to assess for language or disease differences; and secondly, to perform a quality comparison between medical and layperson terminology.World Health Organization (WHO) Health on the Net (HON) principles may be applied to websites using an automated toolbar function. Using a search engine (www.Google.com) 8,400 websites were assessed using keywords 'endometrial, 'uterine', 'cervical', 'ovarian', 'vaginal', 'vulvar', plus 'cancer', in English, French, German, and Spanish; repeated for alternate terms e.g. 'cervix', 'womb'.Searches for "vaginal' 'uterine', 'cervical', and 'endometrial' each returned millions of websites. The total percentage of all assessed HON-accredited sites was notably low across all search terms (median 15%; range 3-19%). Significant differences by malignancy type (p < 0.0001), language (p < 0.0001), and tertiles (thirds) of the first 150 websites returned (p < 0.0001). French language had most accredited websites. Using alternate terms demonstrated significant differences (p < 0.001) in accredited websites for most gynecological cancers.Internet data on gynecological malignancies is overwhelming. Further, a lack of validation of the majority of gynecological oncologic sites should be appreciated with discrepancies in quality and number of websites across diseases, languages, and also between medical and layperson terms. Physicians should encourage and more importantly their professional bodies should participate in the development of informative, ethical, and reliable health websites on the internet and direct patients to them.

authors

publication date

  • 2016