IMR Press / EJGO / Volume 37 / Issue 4 / DOI: 10.12892/ejgo3052.2016

European Journal of Gynaecological Oncology (EJGO) is published by IMR Press from Volume 40 Issue 1 (2019). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with S.O.G.

Open Access Original Research
Health information quality on the internet in gynecological oncology: a multilingual evaluation
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1 University of Melbourne, Department of Surgery, Melbourne, Australia
2 Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute, Austin Hospital, Melbourne, Australia
3 Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Australia
4 Urological Institute, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA
5 University of Tasmania, Launceston General Hospital, Launceston, Australia
Eur. J. Gynaecol. Oncol. 2016, 37(4), 478–483; https://doi.org/10.12892/ejgo3052.2016
Published: 10 August 2016
Abstract

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 (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'. 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.
Keywords
Gynecology
Neoplasms
Internet
Patient education
Women
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