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Urology. 2019 Feb 25. pii: S0090-4295(19)30205-5. doi: 10.1016/j.urology.2018.12.050. [Epub ahead of print]

Misinformation on the Internet regarding Ablative Therapies for Prostate Cancer.

Author information

1
Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY. Electronic address: da2618@cumc.columbia.edu.
2
Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY. Electronic address: Nm2797@cumc.columbia.edu.
3
Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY. Electronic address: Ems2230@cumc.columbia.edu.
4
Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY. Electronic address: Esh2157@cumc.columbia.edu.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the quality of web-based information on ablative therapies for prostate cancer METHODS: The two most common search engines (Google and Bing) were queried for the following terms: "prostate cancer" + "HIFU" and "cryotherapy", respectively. The top 50 websites for each were obtained. Websites were characterized and analyzed regarding their accuracy and completeness of information using criteria determined a priori. Academic papers were excluded.

RESULTS:

Of "HIFU" search results, 17% were advertisements, 13% and 29% were academic and private practice websites, respectively. Erroneous information on oncological efficacy was presented in 15% and 41% of academic and private practice websites, respectively. Criteria for treatment were mentioned in 31% and 66% of academic and private practice websites, respectively. Of "cryotherapy" search results, 18% were advertisements, 15% academic sites, and 11% private practices. Erroneous information was presented in 73% of both academic and private practice websites. Criteria for treatment were mentioned in 27% and 18% of these sites, respectively. 78% and 75% of HIFU and cryotherapy sites, respectively, mentioned general side effects.

CONCLUSIONS:

There is substantial inaccurate and incomplete information on the Internet regarding ablative treatments for prostate cancer from academic and private practice websites. Selection criteria are uncommonly discussed. More attention to accuracy of information is needed to ensure patients are not misled about the data behind these treatments.

KEYWORDS:

Cryotherapy; HIFU; prostate ablation; prostate cancer; prostate treatment

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