Differences in the Quality of Information on the Internet about Lung Cancer between the United States and Japan
Journal of Thoracic Oncology
Quality of information available over the Internet has been a cause for concern. Our goal was to evaluate the quality of information available on lung cancer in the United States and Japan and assess the differences between the two. Methods: We conducted a prospective, observational Web review by searching the word "lung cancer" in Japanese and English, using Google Japan (Google-J), Google United States (Google-U), and Yahoo Japan (Yahoo-J). The first 50 Web sites displayed were evaluated from
... the ethical perspective and for the validity of the information. The administrator of each Web site was also investigated. Results: Ethical policies were generally well described in the Web sites displayed by Google-U but less well so in the sites displayed by Google-J and Yahoo-J. The differences in the validity of the information available was more striking, in that 80% of the Web sites generated by Google-U described the most appropriate treatment methods, whereas less than 50% of the Web sites displayed by Google-J and Yahoo-J recommended the standard therapy, and more than 10% advertised alternative therapy. Nonprofit organizations and public institutions were the primary Web site administrators in the United States, whereas commercial or personal Web sites were more frequent in Japan. Conclusion: Differences in the quality of information on lung cancer available over the Internet were apparent between Japan and the United States. The reasons for such differences might be tracked to the administrators of the Web sites. Nonprofit organizations and public institutions are the up-and-coming Web site administrators for relaying reliable medical information.