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Prostate Cancer Medical Websites: Friend Or Foe?

How Prostate Cancer Websites Stack Up

Loyola University Medical Center explored 62 different prostate cancer websites, finding that most are written above a 12th-grade reading level. Since one-third of Americans read below a high-school level, that presents a significant patient wellness challenge. As a general guideline, the U.S. National Institutes of Health suggest a fourth- to sixth-grade reading level for patient education materials, though few seem to heed that advice.

Striking a balance between medical expertise and patient-speak online presents a significant challenge for doctors. "In person, patients can ask questions and even when they don't we can read the uncertainly on their faces and know that further clarification is needed," says Dr. Samadi. "Whether in person or online, we have a responsibility to put ourselves in the patient's shoes and educate them in meaningful ways."

As a general rule, patients should seek health information from trusted sources such as large hospitals and experienced physicians and surgeons. Look for recommendations and advice backed by current medical research and well-recognized centers of excellence. "Patients should be as discerning online as they would be in person," urges Dr. Samadi. "Some websites are very useful, but if patients are unsure about something they read or feel they need more clarification, there's no substitute for the personal counsel of a specialist."

Dr. Samadi works to share prostate cancer information that's meaningful and useful to patients and their families. His primary site,, is even translated into six additional languages, including Hebrew.

David Samadi, MD has performed more than 4,000 successful robotic prostatectomy procedures at New York's Mount Sinai Medical Center where he serves as Vice Chairman, Department of Urology and Chief of Robotics and Minimally Invasive Surgery.

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