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Pract Radiat Oncol. 2018 Jul - Aug;8(4):275-278. doi: 10.1016/j.prro.2017.12.010. Epub 2017 Dec 24.

Quality of prostate cancer screening information on the websites of nationally recognized cancer centers and health organizations.

Author information

University of Tennessee Health Science Center, College of Medicine, Memphis, Tennessee.
University of Tennessee West Cancer Center, Department of Radiation Oncology, Memphis, Tennessee.
University of Alabama at Birmingham, Department of Radiation Oncology, Birmingham, Alabama. Electronic address:
University of Alabama at Birmingham, Department of Radiation Oncology, Birmingham, Alabama.



The purpose of this study was to survey the accessibility and quality of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening information from National Cancer Institute (NCI) cancer center and public health organization Web sites.


We surveyed the December 1, 2016, version of all 63 NCI-designated cancer center public Web sites and 5 major online clearinghouses from allied public/private organizations (,,,, and Web sites were analyzed according to a 50-item list of validated health care information quality measures. Web sites were graded by 2 blinded reviewers. Interrater agreement was confirmed by Cohen kappa coefficient.


Ninety percent of Web sites addressed PSA screening. Cancer center sites covered 45% of topics surveyed, whereas organization Web sites addressed 70%. All organizational Web pages addressed the possibility of false-positive screening results; 41% of cancer center Web pages did not. Forty percent of cancer center Web pages also did not discuss next steps if a PSA test was positive. Only 6% of cancer center Web pages were rated by our reviewers as "superior" (eg, addressing >75% of the surveyed topics) versus 20% of organizational Web pages. Interrater agreement between our reviewers was high (kappa coefficient = 0.602).


NCI-designated cancer center Web sites publish lower quality public information about PSA screening than sites run by major allied organizations. Nonetheless, information and communication deficiencies were observed across all surveyed sites. In an age of increasing patient consumerism, prospective prostate cancer patients would benefit from improved online PSA screening information from provider and advocacy organizations. Validated cancer patient Web educational standards remain an important, understudied priority.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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