Navigation Links
Wikipedia Accurate on Cancer Facts, But Hard to Read: Study
Date:9/15/2011

THURSDAY, Sept. 15 (HealthDay News) -- The facts about cancer found on the website Wikipedia are about as accurate as the information on the disease found on the patient-oriented section of the U.S. National Cancer Institute's Physician Data Query (PDQ), a comprehensive peer-reviewed cancer database, according to a new study.

Although experts from Thomas Jefferson University were hard-pressed to find errors on Wikipedia, they did find the content on the site was harder to read and included links to more dense information than the simplified, shorter explanations found on PDQ.

"There are a vast number of websites where patients can obtain cancer information," study leader Dr. Yaacov Lawrence, adjunct assistant professor of radiation oncology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, and director of the Center for Translational Research in Radiation Oncology at the Sheba Medical Center in Israel, said in a university news release.

"The purpose of this study was to answer one question: Is the cancer information on Wikipedia correct? Reassuringly, we found that errors were extremely rare on Wikipedia. But the way information was presented on PDQ is more patient-friendly," Lawrence said.

Wikipedia is commonly not considered a trustworthy source of information since the writers -- whether amateur journalists or medical specialists -- develop the content found on the site without professional oversight. Nevertheless, the study found the site ranked among the top 10 results for more search engines, higher than the PDQ and professionally maintained government websites. The study authors also pointed out that Wikipedia updates more quickly.

In conducting the study, researchers chose 10 types of cancer and compared the information on the diseases' epidemiology, etiology, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and controversial topics in cancer care found on Wikipedia with the information found on PDQ. The content on both sites were vetted for accuracy against textbooks.

The investigators also used standard algorithms based on word and sentence length to calculate the information's readability.

The study, released online in advance of print publication in the Journal of Oncology Practice, revealed that less than 2 percent of the information on either Wikipedia or PDQ did not coincide with the facts found in textbooks. The researchers found the information on the two websites were equally comprehensive. They also noted both sites discussed controversial aspects of cancer care poorly.

The main difference between Wikipedia and the PDQ site was their readability. Wikipedia was written at a college level, while PDQ was written so that a 9th grader could understand it.

"PDQ's readability is doubtless due to the site's professional editing, whereas Wikipedia's lack of readability may reflect its varied origins and haphazard editing," explained Lawrence. "Overall our results are reassuring: on the one hand Wikipedia appears to be extremely accurate, on the other, the resources invested in the creation and upkeep of the PDQ are clearly justified."

The study authors recommend that patients use the PDQ site first so they are not inundated by complex information and hyperlinks. They added that more research is needed to determine how the differences in readability of these sites affects patients' understanding and retention of information about the disease.

More information

The American Cancer Society provides more information on cancer.

-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas

SOURCE: Thomas Jefferson University, news release, Sept. 15, 2011


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Study finds cancer information on Wikipedia is accurate, but not very readable
2. Insulation from public pressure leads to more accurate suicide reporting by death investigators
3. Sudden cardiac death in young athletes: Study suggests many ECG screenings are inaccurate
4. Pediatric cardiologists not always accurate in interpreting ECG results for young athletes
5. Concussion baseline important for accurate future assessment in at-risk youth athletes
6. U.S. Database of Breast Cancer Treatment May Be Inaccurate
7. Getting an accurate read on Parkinsons
8. Walking distance test an accurate indicator of disease severity in patients with COPD
9. Patient reports of relatives cancer history often not accurate
10. Practice can make search-and-rescue robot operators more accurate
11. MDCT arthrography accurately identifies
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Wikipedia Accurate on Cancer Facts, But Hard to Read: Study
(Date:6/26/2017)... ... June 26, 2017 , ... ... recent review of government data released by the United Soybean Board. , ... Maryland’s soybean farmers have increased their productivity on less land per bushel, the ...
(Date:6/26/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... June 26, 2017 , ... New patients ... from Dr. Angela Cotey, with or without a referral. Dr. Cotey is a trusted ... of this preferred tooth replacement option. , Patients with missing teeth in Fitchburg, WI, ...
(Date:6/25/2017)... ... 2017 , ... CareSet Labs released the Root NPI Graph today at the ... greatly improved version of the Doctor Referral teaming dataset commonly available from Medicare. , ... called the the “Doctor Referral Dataset” as released by Medicare and “DocGraph” as released ...
(Date:6/24/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2017 , ... ... Dental365 family. Located at 217 Portion Road in Lake Ronkonkoma, Dental365 offers patients ... and weekends so that visits to the dentist fit into their patients’ busy ...
(Date:6/23/2017)... ... 2017 , ... By scoring 100% for fiscal management and accountability, the Arthritis ... charity evaluator, Charity Navigator, validating ANRF's work as a top charity in America. , ... Navigator and earns ANRF a spot on their “ 10 Charities Worth Watching ” ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/26/2017)... 26, 2017  Endo International plc (NASDAQ: ENDP ... CEO, will represent the Company in a fireside chat at ... Tuesday, June 13, 2017 at 10:40 a.m. PT / 1:40 ... in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. ... will be available on the Company,s website at http://www.endo.com/investors/overview ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... Calif. , May 23, 2017  Leaf ... most innovative medical devices for pressure ulcer prevention, ... the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, National ... May 22-25. The Leaf Patient Monitoring ... specifically for the hospital environment.  The system seamlessly ...
(Date:5/18/2017)... May 18, 2017  Two Bayer U.S. Pharmaceutical leaders ... during its recent 28 th Woman of ... event showcases HBA,s longstanding mission of furthering the advancement ... Cindy Powell-Steffen , senior director of ... division, and Libby Howe , a regional business ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: