New AstraZeneca research has shown significant gaps in online sources of information for lung cancer patients.

The research, which was presented at the European Lung Cancer Congress, revealed that information on lung cancer can be difficult to access for patients and caregivers, is often outdated and sometimes inaccurate.

Gaps in information were identified across all regions across the 11 countries studied, including the US, Japan, Canada, and across Europe.

The data was gathered from an analysis of 885 websites, showing that although sources of information differed between countries, globally news sources were the leading type of website, meaning that media content requires careful consideration if patients are to have balanced information.

The company found that 65% of sources provided information on differences between non-small cell and small cell lung cancer, but only 29% explained the staging of disease and only 23% of information sources mentioned IO biomarkers, with 11% citing potential testing options to identify patients eligible for these.

Information on treatment options, when available, was found to be often either too complex or too high-level and incomplete, and chemotherapy was the most frequently mentioned treatment option.

Anne-Marie Baird, PhD, Lung Cancer Europe said: “More and more people impacted by lung cancer use the internet as their primary source of information. However, this information is not necessarily accurate or accessible, and can lack context for most patients. There is a need for community stakeholders to work together to ensure clear, curated and easily understandable information is readily available for patients in their own languages.”