Background: Internet information, now available in many different languages, can become a major source of information for patients and families in their own mother tongue. Chinese represent one of most frequently spoken language in the world. The aims of this study were to critically appraise the quantity and quality of Internet health information in childhood brain tumour in the Chinese language and to identify sufficient quality websites that can potentially be recommended to Chinese-speaking parents.
Methods: Internet information on six common paediatric brain tumours was searched using six commonly used Chinese search engines. Websites were assessed systematically using two rating tools: DISCERN instrument and Checklist Rating System Instrument.
Results: Out of 946 sites accessed, only 13 assessable Chinese websites, displaying Traditional Chinese characters and providing information on brain tumour, were identified. Only four sites included specific discussion on brain tumours in children. Ten websites failed to provide satisfactory information on brain tumour as rated by DISCERN instrument. Overall only 41% of the 13 specific items relevant to brain tumours were mentioned (Checklist Rating System Instrument).
Conclusion: Only a few satisfactory websites can be recommended to Chinese-speaking families for general information on brain tumour with caution from health care providers that such information may not apply to the child's individual condition.