Background: The NIH and Department of Health & Human Services recommend online patient information (OPI) be written at a sixth grade level. We used a panel of readability analyses to assess OPI from NCI-Designated Cancer Center (NCIDCC) Web sites. Methods: Cancer.gov was used to identify 68 NCIDCC Web sites from which we collected both general OPI and OPI specific to breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancers. This text was analyzed by 10 commonly used readability tests: the New Dale-Chall Readability Formula, Flesch Reading Ease scale, Flesch-Kinaid Grade Level, FORCAST scale, Fry Readability Graph, Simple Measure of Gobbledygook test, Gunning Frequency of Gobbledygook index, New Fog Count, Raygor Readability Estimate Graph, and Coleman-Liau Index. We tested the hypothesis that the readability of NCIDCC OPI was written at the sixth grade level. Secondary analyses were performed to compare readability of OPI between comprehensive and noncomprehensive centers, by region, and to OPI produced by the American Cancer Society (ACS). Results: A mean of 30,507 words from 40 comprehensive and 18 noncomprehensive NCIDCCs was analyzed (7 nonclinical and 3 without appropriate OPI were excluded). Using a composite grade level score, the mean readability score of 12.46 (ie, college level: 95% CI, 12.13–12.79) was significantly greater than the target grade level of 6 (middle-school: P<.001). No difference between comprehensive and noncomprehensive centers was identified. Regional differences were identified in 4 of the 10 readability metrics (P<.05). ACS OPI provides easier language, at the seventh to ninth grade level, across all tests (P<.01). Conclusions: OPI from NCIDCC Web sites is more complex than recommended for the average patient.
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Stephen A. Rosenberg, David Francis, Craig R. Hullett, Zachary S. Morris, Michael M. Fisher, Jeffrey V. Brower, Kristin A. Bradley, Bethany M. Anderson, Michael F. Bassetti, and Randall J. Kimple
Margaret von Mehren, R. Lor Randall, Robert S. Benjamin, Sarah Boles, Marilyn M. Bui, Kristen N. Ganjoo, Suzanne George, Ricardo J. Gonzalez, Martin J. Heslin, John M. Kane III, Vicki Keedy, Edward Kim, Henry Koon, Joel Mayerson, Martin McCarter, Sean V. McGarry, Christian Meyer, Zachary S. Morris, Richard J. O'Donnell, Alberto S. Pappo, I. Benjamin Paz, Ivy A. Petersen, John D. Pfeifer, Richard F. Riedel, Bernice Ruo, Scott Schuetze, William D. Tap, Jeffrey D. Wayne, Mary Anne Bergman, and Jillian L. Scavone
Soft tissue sarcomas (STS) are rare solid tumors of mesenchymal cell origin that display a heterogenous mix of clinical and pathologic characteristics. STS can develop from fat, muscle, nerves, blood vessels, and other connective tissues. The evaluation and treatment of patients with STS requires a multidisciplinary team with demonstrated expertise in the management of these tumors. The complete NCCN Guidelines for STS provide recommendations for the diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of extremity/superficial trunk/head and neck STS, as well as intra-abdominal/retroperitoneal STS, gastrointestinal stromal tumors, desmoid tumors, and rhabdomyosarcoma. This portion of the NCCN Guidelines discusses general principles for the diagnosis, staging, and treatment of STS of the extremities, superficial trunk, or head and neck; outlines treatment recommendations by disease stage; and reviews the evidence to support the guidelines recommendations.