Comprehending the impact of #Breastcancer, #Breastsurgery and related hashtags on Twitter: A content and social network cross-sectional analysis #Breastcancer#Breastsurgery

Stavroula L Kastora* (Corresponding Author), Andreas Karakatsanis, Yazan A Masannat

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Early detection along with improved locoregional and systemic therapies have decreased breast cancer mortality and allowed for the clinical implementation of breast conserving surgical options, in turn reducing the clinical and psychosocial impact of mastectomy. To what extend this has been successfully conveyed through social media for breast cancer awareness, has not been previously investigated.

METHODS: This study presents a content and social network cross-sectional descriptive study of Twitter and Google trends data worldwide from platform launch (2006 and 2004 respectively) until May 15th, 2022, in agreement with the STROBE guidelines. Tweets associated with the hashtags #Breastcancer, #Breastsurgery, #Oncoplasticsurgery, #Mastectomy, #Breastreconstruction, #Breastconservingsurgery were licensed and downloaded through the Vincitas and Tweetbinder online platforms. Associated available demographics, namely username, biography, location, date and language of post, were extracted from the Twitter dataset while interest percentage, location and language of search were extracted from the Google trends dataset.

RESULTS: A total of 390111 unique tweets were generated by 127284 unique users, with 2 users engaging with all six hashtags. Original tweets constituted on average 39.1% [Min 30.7% to max 47.2%] of the total. Hashtag frequency increased on Twitter for all six searches during October, the breast-cancer awareness month, but not on Google trends. Cancer survivors engaged much more often with the hashtag #Breastcancer and #Mastectomy, whereas #Breastsurgery, #Oncoplasticsurgery, #Breastconservingsurgery, #Breastreconstruction were mostly used by health professionals.

CONCLUSION: In this large qualitative and quantitative dataset, geo-temporal oscillations on Twitter and Google trends for hashtags relevant with breast cancer provide preliminary insights on information flow and user engagement. Understanding the effective use of social media platforms may provide the niche for disseminating evidence and promoting education on the surgical options of patients with breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Surgical Oncology
Early online date18 Jan 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Jan 2023


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