YouTube videos about prostate cancer can be dangerously misleading men believing they do not need screening or injecting herbs into their prostate could cure cancer, suggests a new study.
In recent years, Americans have increasingly looked at Dr. Google – instead of their actual doctors – for health information.
More than 60 percent of us spend time searching for medical problems online.
The Internet has an infinite tax of (verified) information that may be useful if you are thinking of saying you are trying a new diet.
But the efforts are much higher for cancer patients, a growing number of alternative treatments instead of proven as chemotherapy.
A new study from New York University found that 77 percent of the 150 most viewed YouTube videos on prostate cancer contained misleading or in-depth information that could encourage patients to get unnecessarily aggressive and dangerous operations.
There are over half a million YouTube videos about YouTube prostate cancer, but 77 percent of them can be misleading to millions of viewers, according to a new study.
Every year in the United States, nearly 165,000 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed.
Aside from skin cancer, prostate is the most common form of cancer in American men – but it does not diagnose anything less scary for new patients or men affected, they can get the disease.
It is likely why there are so many prostate ideas with so many views on YouTube.
There are over 600,000 prostate cancer videos on the popular platform – more videos than there are people in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Each of them has an average of 45,000 views, although some have as many as 1.3 million views.
However, researchers at New York University found that many of these videos contain inaccurate data or do not follow the US guidelines on how to talk to patients about cancer or define potentially confusing medical terms.
Perhaps most relevant, the higher the scientific quality of the researchers, the lower the viewing – and vice versa, so the most incorrect videos are those patients are likely to seek for comfort and education.
About a quarter of the videos were lowered to the commercials, which proved to be bias against new technology, and nearly 20 percent ran complementary treatments (which may be helpful, but not as well-proven as standard treatments) or alternative treatments that may be quite dangerous.
For example, a video "about injecting herbs in the prostate as a treatment for cancer and it had more than 300,000 views", lead study writer and NYU urologist Dr Stacy Loeb said.
"It is not recommended in the guidelines," she added.
The best YouTube result if you are currently searching for "prostate cancer" (in addition to a HPV display of a teenage girl in the thumbnail), uploaded by UCLA Health, and has a urologist Dr. Mark Litwin and a former Major League Baseball player, Steve Garvey.
The video begins with Dr. Litwin's dissuasive "willy-nilly" prostate cancer screenings and a little more than halfway through Garvey's story, teaches the diligence of Dr Litwin and UCLA's procedures and calls for a "disciple" of UCLA's prostate awareness efforts.
The video passes one of NYU's most important litmus test.
This was probably because the video was older than the latest guidelines.
By 2012, the United States Prevention Service Group released guidelines that "recommend against cancer screening for all men" by default.
Last year it was changed. Instead, the working group instructed physicians and patients to emphasize the pros and cons of testing.
Dr. Litwin says early in the 45 minute video that patients and their doctors should discuss together when screening is or is not appropriate and priority.
In addition, Dr Litwin described "shared decision making" or coordinated planning between physicians and patients, as recommended by current guidelines for prostate cancer screening.
Only about half of the 150 best videos that the NYU researchers watched described or encouraged this kind of discussion.
"Thank goodness, prostate cancer is a very fast and dynamic field," says Dr. Loeb. & # 39;
"This means we are making more discoveries, there have been more drug approvals, and the guidelines have changed over the years. It also means that information from even three years ago can no longer be true.
The UCLA video also raised a rather aggressive treatment plan (although it might have been the best for Garvey) and uses some very favorable discussion about Dr Litwin's methods.
A commenter noted.
"Not until the forty-five minute of this forty-five video, either Garvey or Litwin took the issue of surgical side effects – even then some information was provided – which makes me wonder, Was this video created as the public service they mean, or was it just one Some informative infomercial for Urology Department of Urology? wrote Steve K (although there is some informative material early in the video).
This suggests that the video owed at least some signs of bias towards surgery and UCLA itself.
And this is potentially problematic because studies have shown that for 70 percent of new patients diagnosed with prostate cancer lies in early stages of the disease, since surgery is little or no benefit for most.
The reason is that the distracted men who have just been diagnosed can be primed to say yes to more invasive, more expensive but no more effective treatments if they watch YouTube videos that promote them.
"Our study shows that people really need to be careful with many YouTube videos on prostate cancer," says study scientist and urologist Dr. Stacy Loeb.
"There is valuable information available in them, but people need to check the source to make sure it's trustworthy and be careful about how fast video clips become outdated, because the guidelines are constantly evolving with science."
Dr. Loeb notes that many of the videos are older than new guidelines and that physicians would be good at engaging with platforms like YouTube and social media to encourage patients to go to perhaps less catchy but more accurate websites for information such as the prostate cancer foundation (which helped fund the study) and the National Cancer Institute.
"I think we as clinics are responsible for participating in the public dialogue to ensure that there is high quality content out there," says Dr. Loeb, "so we should be actively involved in the content of social media. "