The internet is an emerging source of information for prostate cancer (PCa) patients. Since little is known about the quality of information on PCa provided online, we investigated its accordance to the latest European Association of Urology (EAU) guidelines.
A total of 89 German web pages were included for analysis. A quality model classifying the provider of information and its expertise was introduced. Correctness of provided information was systematically compared to the EAU guidelines.
Information was provided by medical experts (41%), media (11%), and pharmaceutical companies (6%). Certificates were found in 23% with a significantly higher rate if provided by medical experts (p = 0.003). The minority of web pages showed information in accordance with the EAU guidelines regarding screening (63%), diagnosis (32%), classification (39%), therapy (36%), complications (8%), and follow-up (27%). Web pages by medical experts as well as websites with any kind of certification showed a significantly higher guideline conformity regarding diagnosis (p = 0.027, p = 0.002), therapy (p = 0.010, p = 0.011), follow-up (p = 0.005, p < 0.001), and availability of references (p = 0.017, p = 0.003).
The present study reveals that online health information on PCa lacks concordance to current guidelines. Certified websites or websites provided by medical experts showed a significantly higher quality and accordance with guidelines.
Urologia internationalis. 2018 Mar 07 [Epub ahead of print]
Johannes Bruendl, Clemens Rothbauer, Bernd Ludwig, Bernhard Dotzler, Christian Wolff, Sandra Reimann, Hendrik Borgmann, Maximilian Burger, Johannes Breyer
Department of Urology, Caritas St. Josef Medical Center, University of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany., Institute of Information, Media, Language and Culture, University of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany., Institute of German Language and Literary Studies, University of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany., Department of Urology, University of Mainz, Mainz, Germany.