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Quality Varies on Internet Urological Cancer Information

Most sites found in Google searches were not accredited by Health on the Net organization

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 9 (HealthDay News) -- The quality of Web sites providing information about urological cancers may have improved in recent years, but many sites offer reason for concern, according to research published in the November issue of Urology.

Nathan Lawrentschuk, M.D., of the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, and colleagues analyzed data from Internet searches in 2004 and 2009 using the Google search engine. The authors searched for prostate, bladder, kidney and testis cancer in several languages, and assessed whether resulting sites satisfied the principles for quality defined by the non-profit Health on the Net (HON) Foundation.

The researchers found that, across languages and types of cancer, most sites were not HON-accredited; but, in general, the information improved between 2004 and 2009. Searches in English generally returned more accredited sites than in French, Spanish, and German in both years.

"The authors do a fine job of introducing the HON concept, and they also demonstrate how few uro-oncology sites that are early hits on Google across languages adhere to the principles outlined. This differed according to language, and did seem to improve with time. As the authors conclude, it remains us, the physicians, who 'need to encourage informative, ethical and reliable complimentary health Web sites on the Internet and direct patients to them,'" writes the author of an accompanying editorial.

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