Journal of Thoracic Oncology. 2009 Jan;4(1):102-4. [Link]

Tan BH, Kostapanagiotou K, Jilaihawi AN.

Department of Thoracic Surgery, Hairmyres Hospital, East Kilbride, Scotland, United Kingdom.


Introduction: The Internet is a widely used information resource for patients with mesothelioma. The goal of this study is to assess the content and quality of mesothelioma information presented on the internet using Google as a search engine, as well as to test the hypothesis that more popular sites (i.e., higher Google rank) are of higher quality.

Methods: The top 100 websites appearing in Google using the terms “mesothelioma” were included in the study. Websites were evaluated using (a) JAMA benchmarks (authorship, references, currency, and disclosure), and (b) an Information score (IS) that awarded websites points (0-100) for specific information on various aspects of mesothelioma.

Results: Of the top 100 websites identified, 84 websites were suitable for scoring. Only 5 (6.0%) sites met all 4 criteria of the JAMA benchmarks. The mean IS was 23.8 (range, 0-86). There was a weak but significant positive correlation with Google ranking of websites and IS (r = 0.275, p = 0.006).

Conclusions: There is marked variation in the quality, integrity, and currency of the information in educational websites for mesothelioma patients. Google ranking has shown a weak but significant positive correlation to the quality of medical information relating to mesothelioma.