Communication of information about oral and oropharyngeal cancer: the quality of online resources

Frans Banki, Steve J Thomas, Barry G J Main, Andrea E Waylen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
362 Downloads (Pure)


Aim: To critically appraise the content, quality, and readability of websites that provide online information about oral and oropharyngeal cancer and are accessible by people diagnosed with that condition.

Material and methods: Three popular search engines were used to find websites providing information about oral and oropharyngeal cancer and all linksthat presented on the first page of the search were analysed. Included sites were assessed for content (intended audience, and evidence of quality assurance). The validated DISCERN tool was used to assess the quality of sites. A readability score was calculated. Descriptive and inferential statistical analyses were performed.

Results: One-hundred-and-sixty-two web sites were examined. The majority (87%) were written for a clinical audience. Most (89%) did not display evidence of quality assurance. The median overall quality (DISCERN) score was 2.0, indicating potentially serious shortcomings. There was a correlation between the DISCERN scores and evidence of quality assurance certification, but this was not seen for readability.

Conclusion: The quality of online information that may be accessed by people with oral and oropharyngeal cancer when seeking information online remains poor.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-10
Number of pages7
JournalOral Surgery
Issue number1
Early online date11 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017

Structured keywords

  • Centre for Surgical Research


  • oral cancer
  • oropharyngeal
  • online resources
  • patient information
  • quality assurance


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