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Jpn J Clin Oncol. 2012 May;42(5):368-74. doi: 10.1093/jjco/hys039. Epub 2012 Mar 28.

Oncology information on the Internet.

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Department of Respiratory Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8655, Japan.


Owing to new developments in Internet technologies, the amount of available oncology information is growing. Both patients and caregivers are increasingly using the Internet to obtain medical information. However, while it is easy to provide information, ensuring its quality is always a concern. Thus, many instruments for evaluating the quality of health information have been created, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The increasing importance of online search engines such as Google warrants the examination of the correlation between their rankings and medical quality. The Internet also mediates the exchange of information from one individual to another. Mailing lists of advocate groups and social networking sites help spread information to patients and caregivers. While text messages are still the main medium of communication, audio and video messages are also increasing rapidly, accelerating the communication on the Internet. Future health information developments on the Internet include merging patients' personal information on the Internet with their traditional health records and facilitating the interaction among patients, caregivers and health-care providers. Through these developments, the Internet is expected to strengthen the mutually beneficial relationships among all stakeholders in the field of medicine.

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