Websites about, not for, adolescents? A systematic analysis of online fertility preservation information for adolescent and young adult cancer patients

Sienna Ruiz, Rachel Mintz, Amela Sijecic, Michelle Eggers, Aubri S. Hoffman, Terri Woodard, Kari L. Bjornard, Holly Hoefgen, Taryn Sandheinrich, Kenan Omurtag, Ashley J. Housten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: Fertility preservation is an increasingly important topic in adolescent and young adult cancer survivorship, yet treatments remain under-utilized, possibly due to lack of awareness and understanding. The internet is widely used by adolescents and young adults and has been proposed to fill knowledge gaps and advance high-quality, more equitable care. As a first step, this study analyzed the quality of current fertility preservation resources online and identified opportunities for improvement. Methods: We conducted a systematic analysis of 500 websites to assess the quality, readability, and desirability of website features, and the inclusion of clinically relevant topics. Results: The majority of the 68 eligible websites were low quality, written at college reading levels, and included few features that younger patients find desirable. Websites mentioned more common fertility preservation treatments than promising experimental treatments, and could be improved with cost information, socioemotional impacts, and other equity-related fertility topics. Conclusions: Currently, the majority of fertility preservation websites are about, but not for, adolescent and young adult patients. High-quality educational websites are needed that address outcomes that matter to teens and young adults, with a priority on solutions that prioritize equity. Implications for cancer survivors: Adolescent and young adult survivors have limited access to high-quality fertility preservation websites that are designed for their needs. There is a need for the development of fertility preservation websites that are clinically comprehensive, written at appropriate reading levels, inclusive, and desirable. We include specific recommendations that future researchers can use to develop websites that could better address AYA populations and improve the fertility preservation decision making process.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Cancer Survivorship
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Cancer
  • Comprehension
  • Decision making—shared
  • Fertility
  • Fertility preservation
  • Internet
  • Patient education
  • Survivorship
  • Young adult

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