Female fertility in the cancer setting: availability and quality of online health information

Anne Marie de Man, Alexandra Rashedi, Willianne Nelen, Antoinette Anazodo, Alfred Rademaker, Saskia de Roo, Catharina Beerendonk, Teresa K. Woodruff*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

As cancer survival rates continue to increase, so does the relevance of starting or expanding a family after cancer, impacting quality of life. However, the option of fertility preservation is not always addressed by physicians before treatment. In the meanwhile, many patients look for health information online. Although potentially helpful in the decision-making process, the Internet could also have adverse effects for this vulnerable patient group when information is incorrect. We aimed to assess the availability and quality of information on female oncofertility on websites of (inter)national oncology, fertility and oncofertility organizations. Availability was identified using an original checklist. Quality was measured by reliability (DISCERN and LIDA instruments), usability (LIDA instrument), and readability (Flesch Kincaid Grade Level test). Of all investigated websites, 52% contained information on oncofertility, with 32% containing a stand-alone page. Of those sites, the amount of treatment options covered were equivalent between specialty sites and general fertility and oncology sites (p = 0.07). The quality of information on treatment choices was the highest for oncofertility websites. Reliability and usability did not differ significantly between websites. No websites evaluated were at the recommended 7th–8th grade reading level. Availability and quality should be improved, and high-quality resources are recommended by physicians.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)170-178
Number of pages9
JournalHuman Fertility
Volume23
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2 2020

Keywords

  • Fertility preservation
  • cancer
  • communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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