Study in National Journal of Cancer institute Cancer spectrum I looked at chatbots and artificial intelligence (AI), as they are becoming popular sources of cancer information. They found that these resources provided accurate information when asked about common myths and misconceptions about cancer. In the first study of its kind, Dr. Skyler Johnson, MD, a physician and scientist at the Huntsman Cancer Institute and assistant professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Utah (U), evaluated the reliability and accuracy of ChatGPT cancer information.
Using common National Cancer Institute (NCI) myths and misconceptions about cancer, Johnson and his team found that 97% of the answers were correct. However, this finding comes with some important caveats, including concern among the team that some ChatGPT answers could be interpreted incorrectly. “This could lead to some bad decisions by cancer patients,” says Johnson. “The team suggested caution when advising patients about whether they should use chatbots to get information about cancer.”
The study found that the reviewers were blind, meaning they didn’t know whether the answers came from the chatbot or NCI. Although the answers were accurate, reviewers found ChatGPT’s language to be indirect, ambiguous, and in some cases unclear.
“I know and understand how difficult it is for cancer patients and caregivers to access accurate information,” says Johnson. “These sources need to be studied so that we can help cancer patients navigate the dark waters that exist in the online information environment as they try to search for answers about their diagnoses.”
Incorrect information can harm cancer patients. In a previous study by Johnson and his team published in Journal of the National Cancer InstituteThey found that misinformation was common on social media and had the potential to harm cancer patients.
The next steps are to assess how often patients use chatbots to search for information about cancer, what questions they ask, and whether the AI chatbot provides accurate answers to uncommon or unusual questions about cancer.
The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute including P30 CA042014 and the Huntsman Cancer Foundation.