The aims of this study were to determine the number of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) web sites retrieved form Korean search engines, and to evaluate the quality of online CAM content. We evaluated results retrieved by the use of the key word 'anticancer treatment' on six common search engines in Korea. Among a total of 651 web sites, 226 web sites (35%) related to CAM were identified. The quality and risk of these sites were assessed for 97 web sites after removing duplicate and dysfunctional web sites. We evaluated the quality of the sites using Sandvik score. Scores in this study varied between 5 and 12 points, with a maximum of 14 points. We categorized the risk score for each web site based on the following criteria: (1) the site discourages the use of conventional medicine (23%: 22/97); (2) the site discourages adherence to the advice of a clinician (15%:15/97); (3) the site either provides opinions and experiences, or factual details (26%: 25/97); and (4) the site provide commercial details (46%: 45/97). The most popular web sites in Korea that relate to CAM for cancer offer information of extremely variable quality. Clinicians should be aware of the risks of inaccurate online information and attempt to protect their patients from those.
- Cancer patients
- Complementary and alternative medicine