The Content and Quality of Health Information on the Internet for Patients and Families on Adult Kidney Cancer

  • Ahmed Alsaiari
  • Abdulaziz Joury
  • Mossab Aljuaid
  • Mohammed Wazzan
  • Jesse M. Pines


The Internet is one of the major sources for health information for patients and their families, particularly when patients face serious life-threatening conditions such as kidney cancer in adults. In this study, we evaluate the content and quality of health information on adult kidney cancer using several validated instruments. We accessed the three most popular search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing), using two terms: “kidney cancer” and “renal cell carcinoma,” and reviewed the top 30 hits. After exclusion of duplicated websites, websites targeting health care professionals, and unrelated websites, 35 websites were included. Content was assessed using a 22-item checklist adapted from the American Cancer Society. We assessed website quality using the DISCERN questionnaire, HONcode and JAMA benchmark criteria, readability using three readability scores, and ALEXA for global traffic ranking systems. The average website had 16 of 22 content items while 6 websites fulfilled all 22 items. Among all websites, the average DISCERN quality score was 42 out of 80, 15 (42.8 %) of websites had HONcode certification, and only 3 (8.5 %) fulfilled all JAMA benchmark criteria. The average website readability was at the ninth grade reading level. The content and quality of health-related information on the Internet for adult kidney cancer are variable in comprehensiveness and quality. Many websites are difficult to read without a high school education. A standardized approach to presenting cancer information on the Internet for patients and families may be warranted.


Health information Quality DICSERN Internet Kidney cancer 


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Copyright information

© American Association for Cancer Education 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ahmed Alsaiari
    • 1
    • 2
  • Abdulaziz Joury
    • 1
    • 3
  • Mossab Aljuaid
    • 1
    • 3
  • Mohammed Wazzan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jesse M. Pines
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health SciencesWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.University of JeddahJeddahSaudi Arabia
  3. 3.King Salman Heart CenterKing Fahd Medical CityRiyadhSaudi Arabia
  4. 4.Department of Emergency Medicine and Health Policy and ManagementThe George Washington University School of Medicine and Health SciencesWashingtonUSA
  5. 5.Department of Health Policy and ManagementThe George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public HealthWashingtonUSA

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