YouTube as source of prostate cancer information

Urology. 2010 Mar;75(3):619-22. doi: 10.1016/j.urology.2008.07.059. Epub 2009 Oct 7.


Objectives: Patients can search the Internet for prostate cancer information, and YouTube is a popular Web site that they may consult. We analyzed the prostate cancer videos on YouTube for information content and the presence of bias.

Methods: YouTube was searched for videos about prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing, radiotherapy, and surgery for prostate cancer. The included videos were in English and <10 minutes long. Two physician viewers watched each video and assigned a score for information content (excellent, fair, poor) and bias (for, against, neutral, or balanced). A third viewer arbitrated any discrepancies. The kappa statistic was used to measure interobserver variability, and Pearson's test was used to assess correlation.

Results: A total of 14 PSA videos, 5 radiotherapy videos, and 32 surgery videos were analyzed. The PSA testing videos averaged 1480 +/- 2196 views and 146 +/- 174 s long and had an average viewer rating of 3.1 +/- 2.1 (viewer rating scale 0-5). The surgery videos averaged 2044 +/- 3740 views and 172 +/- 122 s long and had an average viewer rating of scored 3 +/- 2.2. The radiotherapy videos averaged 287 +/- 255 views and 97 +/- 45 s long and had a score of 1.8 +/- 2.5. The information content was fair or poor for 73% of all videos. The bias for surgery, radiotherapy, or PSA testing was present in 69% of videos; 0% of videos were biased against treatment or PSA testing. The interobserver variability was well above than expected by chance alone.

Conclusions: The results of our study have shown that although some videos are robust sources of information, given the preponderance of modest and unbalanced information among reviewed videos, YouTube is an inadequate source of prostate cancer information for patients.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination*
  • Internet*
  • Male
  • Prostatic Neoplasms*
  • Video Recording