Navigation Links
Review of online breast cancer information encourages healthy skepticism for consumers

HOUSTON - In an extended analysis of Web pages dedicated to disseminating breast cancer information, researchers at two University of Texas institutions in the Houston have determined that while most breast cancer data found online was accurate, one in 20 breast cancer Web pages featured inaccuracies and sites displaying complementary and alternative medicine were 15 times more likely to contain false or misleading health information.

Published in the March 15 issue of Cancer and online today, the study was conducted by The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in collaboration with researchers at The University of Texas School of Health Information Sciences at Houston (SHIS) as one of a series of studies to determine whether existing quality assessment tools can identify false or inaccurate breast cancer information available online.

The Pew Internet and American Life Project estimates that more patients seek health information online rather than visit a physician.

According to Funda Meric-Bernstam, M.D., associate professor of surgery at M. D. Anderson, many of her patients have gone on the Internet for education and are savvy in their breast cancer knowledge even before their first appointment with her.

"Often it's clearly a benefit. For example, I've had patients who were recommended mastectomies that were really breast conservation candidates. They actually figured this out by going online and then seeking out surgeons capable of performing the surgery," says Meric-Bernstam, the study's senior and corresponding author. "In contrast, there are times patients read about treatments that clearly do not apply to them, which can increase their level of anxiety or expectations for a treatment that they are not a candidate for. Of course, one also worries about patients who go online and then ultimately do not seek out any treatment despite it being necessary."

In total, 343 Web pages, retrieved using search engines that consumers are likely to use, were analyzed. Each was reviewed for 15 quality criteria, including display of authorship, date of creation and last modification. It was important that the quality criteria be "reproducible," says the study's first author Elmer Bernstam, M.D., an associate professor at both SHIS and The University of Texas Medical School at Houston. Forty-one inaccurate statements were found on 18 of the different Web sites, or 5.2 percent.

"Consumers are taught to look for Web sites where the author's credentials are identified, his or her affiliations are disclosed and other information is listed," said Bernstam, an internist. "But none of this ensures accuracy."

A more positive finding is that the breast cancer information available on the Internet is more accurate than other fields of health information, says Meric-Bernstam.

The authors recognize that while much has changed in terms of the wealth of information about health available on the Internet since the data was collected in 2004, the issue regarding specific quality criteria is timely.

"The question that we really tried to answer was if we could separate Web sites that have misinformation from Sites that have more accurate content. No combination of the criteria allowed us to differentiate the Web sites with accurate information versus those that did not," Bernstam said.

Using such quality criteria, the researchers ultimately hope to develop a screening or automated tool to help consumers eliminate sites with misinformation.

"However, our current recommendation to patients is to be skeptical, make sure what patients read is applicable to their specific medical well-being and not to take action without consulting a clinician," says Meric-Bernstram.


Contact: Laura Sussman
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

Related medicine news :

1. New review suggests caution on drugs to raise good cholesterol
2. Virginia Tech Review Panel Calls For Reform of Mental Health Treatment Law
3. Arbios Systems, Incs Q2/07 Analyst Review Issued by Scimitar Equity Research, Inc.
4. FDA Accepts New Drug Application for Priority Review of Investigational HIV Treatment TMC125
5. FDA Accepts New Drug Application for Priority Review of Investigational HIV Treatment TMC125
6. Peer-Reviewed, Online Database Showcases Local, County and State Pandemic Planning
7. InstaCare Corp. Reviewing M&A Plans
8. CCF Reviews Contents of SCHIP Reauthorization Bill Legislation Places SCHIP on Solid Path
9. Sunrise Provides Status Report on Special Independent Committee Investigation; Provides Updates on Managements Internal Control Review Efforts and on Legal Proceedings
10. Multicountry review shows that Bug Buster Kits reduce head lice and social stigma
11. MaxLife Fund Corp. retains the Law firm, Anslow & Jaclin, LLP of Manalapan, N.J., to review MaxLife Fund Corp. options to be listed on the NASDAQ Capital Market
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... "When ... that regular bras were incredibly uncomfortable," said an inventor from Bronx, N.Y. "In ... She developed the patent-pending RECOVERY BRA for added comfort and support. The bra ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Many people know of ... weight gain, cold hands, and dry skin. But many people who find their cholesterol ... exercise regimen instead of their thyroid, especially if they don’t have any of the ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Students and parents have something to be thankful ... Create Real Impact awards. California Casualty is proud to support the contest ... distracted and reckless driving, the number one killer of young drivers. , Almost ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Eric C. Seidel, DMD and ... of the revolutionary BIOLASE WaterLase iPlus 2.0™ system. This advanced laser technology uses ... a dentist in Gettysburg, PA . From routine visits to cosmetic treatments, ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Young patients with a wide variety of ... and Dr. Kedar S. Lele, who are pediatric dentists in Tucson, AZ . ... WaterLase iPlus 2.0™ system causes minimal discomfort and bleeding to the patient during treatment ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... issue of United States patent No. 9,192,509  entitled: " Methods and Apparatus ... AVACEN 100 dry heat therapy medical device and specific methods of use, referred to by the ... - ... ... ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Israel , November 25, 2015 ... "New Investors"), pursuant to which BioLight and the New ... IOPtima Ltd. subsidiary ("IOPtima") via a private placement. The ... of its innovative IOPtimate™ system used in the treatment ... approval pathway process for the IOPtimate™ system with the ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... November 25, 2015 --> ... sie eine Lizenz für das Patent über eine neue ... und ENS-Lyon innehaben, an Enyo Pharma vergeben haben. ... ins Leben gerufenen und von Edelris gemeinsam mit seinen ... ein Behandlungsziel für HBV identifiziert, und es wurden neue ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: