An analysis of sexual health information on radical prostatectomy websites

Authors

  • John P. Mulhall,

    1. Department of Urology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA and
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  • Cesar Rojaz-Cruz,

    1. Department of Urology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA and
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  • Alexander Müller

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Urology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA and
    2. Department of Urology, University Hospital Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland
      Alexander Müller, Department of Urology, Sidney Kimmel Center for Prostate & Urologic Cancers, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 353 East 68th Street, New York, NY 10065, USA.
      e-mail: Alex.Mueller@usz.ch
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Alexander Müller, Department of Urology, Sidney Kimmel Center for Prostate & Urologic Cancers, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 353 East 68th Street, New York, NY 10065, USA.
e-mail: Alex.Mueller@usz.ch

Abstract

Study Type – Therapy (content analysis)

Level of Evidence 3

OBJECTIVE

To define the nature of information posted on websites related to radical prostatectomy (RP), specifically its accuracy and comprehensiveness, as RP is associated with erectile dysfunction (ED).

METHODS

We reviewed 70 robotic RP (RARP) and 20 open RP (ORP) medical centres. Their websites were reviewed for various factors, by two separate reviewers whose reviews were not seen by each other. Websites were graded based on accuracy and comprehensiveness of information by the senior investigator.

RESULTS

Of the academic and community-based RARP centres, 55% and 79% had specific websites (P < 0.05); 45% of RARP sites had generic information copied directly from the website of Intuitive Surgical (Sunnyvale, CA, USA; the manufacturer of the robotic system). ED was mentioned by only 54% of RARP sites and 45% of ORP sites; 17% of RARP sites were deemed accurate, compared with 30% of ORP sites (P < 0.05). Just over 1% of RARP sites were considered comprehensive, vs 10% of ORP sites (P < 0.05). A third of RARP sites had a direct link to the Intuitive Surgical website (16% academic vs 53% community, P < 0.05), compared to 10% of open sites (P < 0.05). Of most interest was that half of the RARP sites suggested that ED rates were lower for RARP than for ORP; this compared to ED rates being cited as lower for ORP on 5% of the ORP sites (P < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

Despite the stature of RP as a treatment option for men with prostate cancer, and the recent increase in the use of RARP, the accuracy of information pertaining to sexual health on RP websites is poor, with many making false statements about the long-term outcomes for erectile function. This inadequacy appears to be greater on RARP than on ORP websites.

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