Can we trust cancer information on the Internet? – A comparison of interactive cancer risk sites
Objective:To investigate the prevalence and quality of interactive cancer risk sites on the Internet.
Methods:A cancer risk site was defined as a website that gave an estimate of the individual risk of developing cancer. Six search engines and one Meta crawler were used to search the Internet for cancer risk sites (including breast, prostate, colon, and lung cancer). A set of defined quality criteria for health related websites was used to evaluate the websites during 2001 and 2002.
Results:The number of cancer risk sites, as defined above, increased by 50% between 2001 and 2002. Only two out of 22 cancer risk sites fulfilled the quality criteria adequately. No signs of a change in trend (with regard to the quality criteria met) were noted in January 2005
Conclusions:The overall quality of the documentation on the cancer risk sites was poor and no improvement was seen during the study period. The majority of the cancer risk sites do not give reliable risk estimates.
Keywordscancer risk internet quality trust risk estimates.
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