"Be cautious" about videos of prostate cancer on YouTube, warn scientists


YouTube videos on prostate cancer are putting patients at risk of harm from misleading medical information, a team of researchers said.

Scientists at the New York University School of Medicine reviewed YouTube's 150 most watched videos on the disease and reported that 77 percent had factual errors or biased content in the video or comment section.

His work, published in the journal European Urology, found that while 75% of the videos fully described the benefits of different treatments, only 53% warned of its side effects.

According to the team, 19% of videos also recommended alternative and unproven medications – some of which could directly harm patients.

One video promoted "injecting herbs" into the prostate to treat cancer.

The researchers said the audience for these videos was large, with the highest total audience at 1.3 million.

"Our study shows that people really need to be careful about many YouTube videos about prostate cancer," said urologist Stacy Loeb, who chairs a panel of social media experts at the American Urological Association (AUA).

"There is valuable information available in them, but people need to check the source to make sure they are reliable and be careful how fast the videos become outdated, as care guidelines constantly evolve with science."

Loeb said reliable online sources for information on prostate cancer are widely available. In the United Kingdom, site for the NHS offers details on diagnosis and treatment.

She added that the volume of videos on YouTube makes it impractical for medical experts to review them continuously as part of any "policing" effort.

However, she suggested that doctors and viewers use YouTube's reporting feature to warn the technology giant of videos that promote misleading information.

A YouTube spokesman could not immediately respond to Sky News when he was contacted.


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