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Health information quality on the internet in gynecological oncology: A multilingual evaluation


Lawrentschuk, N and Abouassaly, R and Hewitt, E and Mulcahy, A and Bolton, DM and Jobling, T, Health information quality on the internet in gynecological oncology: A multilingual evaluation, European Journal of Gynaecological Oncology, 37, (4) pp. 478-483. ISSN 0392-2936 (2016) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 EJGO

DOI: doi:10.12892/ejgo3052.2016


Background: Oncological internet information quality is considered variable, but no comprehensive analysis of gynecological malignancies 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.

Materials and Methods: World Health Organization (WHO) Health on the Net (HON) principles may be applied to websites using an automated toolbar function. Using a search engine ( 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'.

Results: 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.

Conclusions: 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.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:gynecology, internet, neoplasms, patient education, women
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Reproductive medicine
Research Field:Obstetrics and gynaecology
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health)
Objective Field:Women's and maternal health
UTAS Author:Mulcahy, A (Ms Anthea Mulcahy)
ID Code:119771
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:4
Deposited By:Medicine
Deposited On:2017-08-04
Last Modified:2017-11-09

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