The most popular YouTube videos on prostate cancer often offer misleading or biased medical information that poses potential health risks to patients, an analysis of the social media platform shows.
Led by researchers at NYU School of Medicine and its Perlmutter Cancer Center, the study of the 150 most-viewed YouTube videos on the disease found that 77 percent had factual errors or biased content in either the video or its comments section.
Publishing in the journal European Urology online Nov. 27, the study also found that 75 percent of the videos fully described the benefits of various treatments while only 53 percent sufficiently captured potential harms and side effects. Another 19 percent recommended alternative or complimentary therapies that are largely unproven, say the study authors. They cite one potentially harmful example in which a video promoted "injecting herbs" into the prostate to treat cancer, an assertion not backed by medical evidence.
Researchers say the YouTube audience for these videos was large, with average total viewership at 45,000 but as high as 1.3 million. More than 600,000 prostate cancer videos are posted on the social media platform.
"Our study shows that people really need to be wary of many YouTube videos on ...