Patient-Focused Online Resources for Melanoma: Highly Variable Content and Quality

  • Eman A. Alshaikh
  • Abdulaziz F. Almedimigh
  • Abdulmajeed M. Alruwaili
  • Abdullah H. Almajnoni
  • Ali Alhajiahmed
  • Thamer S. Almalki
  • Sukayna Z. Alfaraj
  • Jesse M. PinesEmail author


When patients are diagnosed or concerned with the diagnosis of melanoma, they commonly use the Internet for information. We assessed the content of patient-focused websites about melanoma. We searched for “melanoma” in four search engines then assessed the first 30 websites in each search. Among included sites, we describe potentially useful content about melanoma: website quality, readability, popularity, and social media sharing. In 31 included websites, > 80% mentioned the definition and risk factors for melanoma, when to seek medical help, how to diagnose, and treatment options, and > 70% described preventive measures. However, website quality was variable: 61% of websites had disclosures, 54% were dated, 41% had a clear author, and 41% had references. Average readability ranged from 8th to 12th grade, which is above recommended reading levels for patient websites. Despite this variation and high reading levels, we identified many high-quality melanoma websites for patients.


Melanoma Internet Consumer education Health education Education Quality Readability 


Author Contributions

All authors have read and approved the submitted manuscript; the manuscript has not been submitted elsewhere nor published elsewhere in whole or in part.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© American Association for Cancer Education 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eman A. Alshaikh
    • 1
  • Abdulaziz F. Almedimigh
    • 1
  • Abdulmajeed M. Alruwaili
    • 1
  • Abdullah H. Almajnoni
    • 1
  • Ali Alhajiahmed
    • 1
  • Thamer S. Almalki
    • 1
  • Sukayna Z. Alfaraj
    • 2
    • 3
  • Jesse M. Pines
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Medicine and Health SciencesThe George Washington UniversityWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Emergency MedicineImam Abdulrahman bin Faisal UniversityDammamSaudi Arabia
  3. 3.Center for Healthcare Innovation and Policy Research, School of Medicine and Health SciencesThe George Washington UniversityWashingtonUSA
  4. 4.Departments of Emergency Medicine and Health Policy and ManagementThe George Washington UniversityWashingtonUSA

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