Readability of Colorectal Cancer Online Information: A Brief Report

Corey H. Basch, Danna Ethan, Sarah A. MacLean, Philip Garcia, Charles E. Basch


Purpose: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States. A decline in deaths caused by CRC has been largely attributable to screening and prompt treatment. Motivation, shown to influence cancer-related screening and treatment decisions, can be shaped by information from the Internet. The extent to which this information is easily readable on cancer-related websites is not known. The purpose of this study was to assess the readability levels of CRC information on 100 websites.

Methods: Using methods from a prior study, the keyword, “colorectal cancer,” was searched on a cleared Internet browser. Scores for each website (n = 100) were generated using five commonly recommended readability tests.

Results: All five tests demonstrated difficult readability for the majority of the websites.

Conclusions: Online information related to CRC is difficult to read and highlights the need for developing cancer-related online material that is understandable to a wider audience.

Keywords: Colorectal cancer, online information, readability

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