Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Online bladder cancer information often outdated

12.12.2003


UMHS study finds inaccurate, old information on nearly one-third of Web sites



Unlike more common cancers like breast cancer, prostate cancer or melanoma, few people understand the basic facts about what causes bladder cancer and how it is treated. So when patients are diagnosed with bladder cancer, they often turn to the Internet for information.

But a new study by researchers at the University of Michigan Health System found 32 percent of Web sites about bladder cancer contained inaccurate or outdated information. And of a list of 41 factors related to bladder cancer, 32 percent of sites covered fewer than half the issues.


Researchers searched the term "bladder cancer" on the eight most frequently used Internet search engines. They looked at the first 30 results retrieved from each search, for a combined 240 sites. After eliminating duplications, broken links, non-English sites and sites only peripherally related to bladder cancer the researchers were left with 38 unique Web sites.

"We found many of the same sites came up in different search engines. The searches also returned broken links or pages that only linked to another site, so the whole search process could be frustrating to patients seeking information," says study author Cheryl T. Lee, M.D., assistant professor of urology and director of the Bladder Cancer Program at the University of Michigan Health System. The study was published in the November issue of the Journal of Urology.

The researchers developed a checklist rating system based on practice guidelines from consensus panels to assess the extent of information on each Web site. The checklist included issues such as general information, risk factors, screening, diagnosis, treatment and prevention. Two urological oncologists used the checklist to evaluate each Web site.

No site included information on all 41 checklist items. Most sites contained information on signs and symptoms, tobacco and chemical exposure as risk factors, diagnostic tests and treatments. Only one site accurately included more than 90 percent of the factors, while 12 sites (32 percent) covered fewer than half.

For example, 84 percent of sites mentioned tobacco use as a major risk factor for bladder cancer, but only 58 percent mentioned that quitting smoking could help prevent the disease. Further, fewer than half the sites discussed follow-up care. Treatment information was also limited, with most sites describing cystectomy, removal of the bladder, but fewer sites also including information on urinary diversion, a procedure to redirect the flow of urine after the bladder is removed.

Six factors were presented inaccurately on some sites: incidence, staging, tobacco as a risk factor, recurrence, treatment of muscle-invasive disease and treatment of metastatic disease. The inaccuracies were generally due to outdated information, not blatantly false statements. For example, information on incidence used statistics from 2001 or earlier, and staging explanations did not reflect a system put in place in 1997.

"Even though the inaccuracies seldom reflected flat-out false statements, a 32 percent inaccuracy rate is still disturbing," Lee says. "Other studies have found online information about melanoma is inaccurate only 14 percent of the time and for sarcoma, only 6 percent of the time."

The research points to the difficulty many patients have in finding basic information online about bladder cancer. After weeding through the broken links and sites that only incidentally mention bladder cancer, patients must puzzle through which sites contain the best information. The study authors found sites from the National Cancer Institute or large Internet cancer sites were the most comprehensive.

"The Web is a good starting point, but you have to be leery that you’re not getting the right information. It’s not a bad idea to use the Internet for some general information, but at the same time you need to have some cross referencing and communication with your physician," Lee says.

Study authors suggest doctors must be proactive to help their patients obtain quality information. This could include doctors assessing Web site information, contributing materials for online publication or offering patients a list of reliable Web resources. The researchers recommend four sites:

In addition to Lee, study authors include Clayton A. Smith, a U-M Medical School student; Janette M. Hall, a UMHS senior research associate; J. Sybil Biermann, M.D., associate professor of orthopedic surgery at U-M Medical School; and W. Bedford Waters, M.D., from the University of Tennessee Division of Urology. Funding for the study came for the U-M Medical School’s Department of Urology.



Reference: The Journal of Urology: 170 (5), pp. 1756-1760 (November 2003)

Sally Pobojewski | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www2.med.umich.edu/prmc/media/relarch.cfm

More articles from Communications Media:

nachricht New Technologies for A/V Analysis and Search
13.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Digitale Medientechnologie IDMT

nachricht On patrol in social networks
25.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

All articles from Communications Media >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>