News Release

For Black patients, 'representation matters' in evaluating prostate cancer websites

Race and other factors affect trust in online sources of information, reports Journal of Urology

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Wolters Kluwer Health

Waltham — February 9, 2024 —For Black men with prostate cancer, racial representation is a key factor affecting trust in websites offering information on prostate cancer, reports a study in the March issue of The Journal of Urology®, an Official Journal of the American Urological Association (AUA). The journal is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer

"Our study shows that representation matters to Black patients seeking prostate cancer information online," comments lead author Stacy Loeb, MD, MSc, PhD (Hon), of New York University Langone Health. "Not only does it impact trust in the information, but a lack of Black representation in prostate cancer content gave the impression that Black men are at lower risk for prostate cancer." 

In fact, national statistics show that Black men have higher rates of prostate cancer compared to White or Hispanic men. "Thus lack of representation could have dangerous consequences such as discouraging screening among Black men," Dr. Loeb adds. 

'I don't see any melanin': Representation affects trust in patient information 

The researchers conducted a series of focus groups with Black patients to assess factors affecting the perceived trustworthiness of online sources of information regarding prostate cancer. Most participants said they used the internet to seek information on their diagnosis and its treatment. 

Patients viewed "Black representation [as] an important factor affecting trust in online information," Dr. Loeb and colleagues write. As one focus group participant commented when viewing a website that depicted only White patients, "Yeah, I don't see any melanin...This is exactly where they would lose me."  

Participants also noticed a lack of Black faces among the professionals pictured in healthcare organizations and advocacy groups. As one patient commented, "As soon as I didn’t see an African American doctor represented in any of the studies, it would kind of turn me off." Not seeing Black people pictured in online sites led some patients to give up on searching for information.  

Findings point to recommendations for online prostate cancer information 

Other factors also affected patients' trust in online information sources. All participants mentioned choosing reputable sources of content, such as leading healthcare institutions and national organizations. The AUA's Urology Care Foundation offers expert information on prostate cancer, along with other urologic conditions. 

Participants preferred websites with a "simple professional appearance," avoiding sites that appeared "amateur, disorganized, [or] overly flashy." They also distrusted sources with any apparent financial conflict – particularly those selling alternative or herbal therapies. Even for major nonprofit organizations, patients were wary of sites with fundraising or donation buttons. 

"Underrepresentation of Black adults in prostate cancer content has the potential to worsen prostate cancer health disparities," Dr. Loeb and colleagues conclude. "Optimal online communications should include racially diverse representation, and evidence-based information in a professional format from reputable sources without financial conflict." 

Wolters Kluwer provides trusted clinical technology and evidence-based solutions that engage clinicians, patients, researchers and students in effective decision-making and outcomes across healthcare. We support clinical effectiveness, learning and research, clinical surveillance and compliance, as well as data solutions. For more information about our solutions, visit https://www.wolterskluwer.com/en/health

Read Article [ Representation Matters: Trust in Digital Health Information Among Black Patients With Prostate Cancer ] 

About The Journal of Urology® 

The Official Journal of the American Urological Association (AUA), and the most widely read and highly cited journal in the field, The Journal of Urology® brings solid coverage of the clinically relevant content needed to stay at the forefront of the dynamic field of urology. This premier journal presents investigative studies on critical areas of research and practice, survey articles providing brief editorial comments on the best and most important urology literature worldwide and practice-oriented reports on significant clinical observations. The Journal of Urology® covers the wide scope of urology, including pediatric urology, urologic cancers, renal transplantation, male infertility, urinary tract stones, female urology and neurourology. 

About the American Urological Association 

Founded in 1902 and headquartered near Baltimore, Maryland, the American Urological Association is a leading advocate for the specialty of urology, and has more than 23,000 members throughout the world. The AUA is a premier urologic association, providing invaluable support to the urologic community as it pursues its mission of fostering the highest standards of urologic care through education, research and the formulation of health care policy. To learn more about the AUA visit: www.auanet.org 

Wolters Kluwer provides trusted clinical technology and evidence-based solutions that engage clinicians, patients, researchers and students in effective decision-making and outcomes across healthcare. We support clinical effectiveness, learning and research, clinical surveillance and compliance, as well as data solutions. For more information about our solutions, visit https://www.wolterskluwer.com/en/health

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About Wolters Kluwer 

Wolters Kluwer (EURONEXT: WKL) is a global leader in information, software, and services for professionals in healthcare, tax and accounting, financial and corporate compliance, legal and regulatory, and corporate performance and ESG. We help our customers make critical decisions every day by providing expert solutions that combine deep domain knowledge with specialized technology and services.  

Wolters Kluwer reported 2022 annual revenues of €5.5 billion. The group serves customers in over 180 countries, maintains operations in over 40 countries, and employs approximately 20,900 people worldwide. The company is headquartered in Alphen aan den Rijn, the Netherlands.  

For more information, visit www.wolterskluwer.com, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube


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