JU Insight: Representation in Online Prostate Cancer Content Lacks Racial and Ethnic Diversity: Implications for Black and Latinx Men

By: Stacy Loeb; Hala T. Borno; Scarlett Gomez; Joseph Ravenell; Akya Myrie; Tatiana Sanchez Nolasco; Nataliya Byrne; Renee Cole; Kristian Black; Sabrina Stair; Joseph N. Macaluso; Dawn Walter; Katherine Siu; Charlotte Samuels; Ashkan Kazemi; Rob Crocker; Robert Sherman; Godfrey Wilson; Derek M. Griffith; Aisha T. Langford | Posted on: 01 Apr 2022

Loeb S, Borno HT, Gomez S et al: Representation in Online Prostate Cancer Content Lacks Racial and Ethnic Diversity: Implications for Black and Latinx Men. J Urol 2021; 207: 85. https://doi.org/10.1097/JU.0000000000002257.

Study Need and Importance

Black men have the highest incidence and mortality from prostate cancer and lower quality of life compared to other U.S. racial groups. Additionally, more Latinx men are diagnosed with advanced disease, and fewer receive guideline-concordant care. As many men seek medical information online, high-quality information targeting diverse populations may mitigate disparities. We examined racial/ethnic representation and information quality in online prostate cancer content.

What We Found

Black and Latinx individuals are underrepresented in online content about prostate cancer compared to the general U.S. population and overall population of prostate cancer survivors. Among 81 websites and 127 videos about prostate cancer with people in them, 37.0% and 24.4% had perceived Black representation, respectively. Only 9.9% websites and 5.5% videos had people with perceived Latinx ethnicity, respectively. Among 1,526 total people featured in the websites and videos, the perceived racial distribution was 9.2% Black, 8.1% Asian, 54.8% White, 0% mixed race and 27.9% unknown/no consensus. Ethnicity was perceived as Latinx for 1.0%. Few websites or videos had Black or Latinx representation and high-quality, understandable and actionable information; further, none with Black or Latinx representation was at a recommended reading level for consumer health information.


The results only reflect English-language searches for prostate cancer, and results may differ using different search strategies. While a consensus process was used to examine perceived race/ethnicity, these are inherently subjective. Additionally, we recognize that health communications cannot address all barriers to care; however, having access to high-quality and representative information is important given the wide use and influence of online networks.

Interpretation for Patient Care

Online information about prostate cancer lacks racial and ethnic diversity. In addition, most content has poor quality and readability for lay health consumers.