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Accuracy Of Breast Cancer Web Sites Questioned

Five percent called inaccurate

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Researchers at the University of Texas in Houston have found that one in 20 breast cancer Web pages contained inaccurate information and sites featuring complimentary and alternative medicine were 15 times more likely to have false or misleading health information.

American Cancer Society

The study is published in the March 15, 2008 issue of Cancer, a journal of the American Cancer Society, and recommends that patients consult clinicians before taking action on breast cancer information found online.

Dr. Funda Meric-Bernstam of The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center examined the usefulness of current quality-rating tools aimed at helping patients find accurate information on breast cancer.

They used five search engines, Google, Yahoo Directory, Alta Vista, Overture, and AllTheWeb to find Web pages that people are likely to use when searching for breast cancer information.

A total of 343 Web pages were analyzed. Each page was reviewed for 15 quality criteria, including authorship, date of creation and last modification. Forty-one inaccurate statements were found on 18 of the different Web sites, or 5.2 percent.

"Consumers are taught to look for Web sites where the author’s credentials are identified, his or her affiliations are disclosed and other information is listed," said Bernstam, an internist. "But none of this ensures accuracy."

A positive finding is that breast cancer information found online is more accurate than other fields of health information says Meric-Bernstam. The researchers hope to create a screening or automated tool to help people avoid sites with misinformation.

"However, our current recommendation to patients is to be skeptical, make sure what patients read is applicable to their specific medical well-being and not to take action without consulting a clinician," says Meric-Bernstam.

 

Accuracy Of Breast Cancer Web Sites Questioned
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  • http://www.mayobrains.com Trisha

    Where can I find the rest of the information? A few links would be great.

    I, as any internet consumer should do, thoroughly check my sources. "Credentials" do not mean "credible" to me – be they Ph.D or Joe Schmoe, I give each as much credence. Which is to say – not much.

    Yes the PhD may have gone to school for eons for this stuff, but more than half of it was taught by pharmaceutical companies with a completely biased curriculum. I don’t want to take meds the rest of my life. I want to get better.

  • http://www.crbuses.com used buses

    Doesn’t HON accreditation on websites guarantee that the site owner legally must have citations and authority references for the information from Universities? I personally believe that health websites should be held more accountable for the information they provide.

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