Accuracy and Readability of Websites on Kidney and Bladder Cancers

The aim of this study was to assess the scientific accuracy and the readability level of websites on kidney and bladder cancers. The search engines Google™, Yahoo™ and Bing™ were searched independently by assessors in November 2014 using the following keywords: "bladder cancer", "kidney cancer", "patient bladder cancer", "patient kidney cancer" and "bladder and kidney cancer". Only English-language websites were selected on the bases of predetermined inclusion and exclusion criteria. Assessors independently reviewed the findings and evaluated the accuracy and quality of each website by using the DISCERN and the LIDA instruments. The readability of the websites was calculated using the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Index and the Coleman-Liau Readability Index. Sixty-two websites were finally included in the study. The overall accuracy scores varied; for the DISCERN, the range was 28 to 76; out of 80 (mean ± SD, 47.1 ± 12.1; median = 46.0, interquartile range (IQR) = 19.2), and for the LIDA, the range was 52 to 125; out of 144 (mean ± SD, 101.9 ± 15.2; median, 103; IQR, 16.5). The creators of these websites were universities and research centres (n = 25, 40%), foundations and associations (n = 10, 16%), commercial and pharmaceutical companies (n = 13, 21%), charities and volunteer work (n = 4, 6%) and non-university educational bodies (n = 10, 16%). The readability scores (mean ± SD) were 11.2 ± 2.2 for the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Index and 11.2 ± 1.6 for the Coleman-Liau Readability Index. The accuracy and the quality of the websites on kidney and bladder cancers varied. In most websites, there were deficiencies in clarity of aims, presenting symptoms, investigations and treatment options. The readability matched grades 10-11 literacy levels-a level above the public readability level. The study highlights the needs for further improvement of the online information created for public and patients with kidney and bladder cancers.

Journal of cancer education : the official journal of the American Association for Cancer Education. 2017 Mar 09 [Epub ahead of print]

Samy A Azer, Maha M Alghofaili, Rana M Alsultan, Najla S Alrumaih

Curriculum Development and Research Unit, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. ., Curriculum Development and Research Unit, College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

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