A Scoping Review of Communication on Social Media - Breast Cancer
Event Type
Poster Presentation
TimeThursday, April 152:02pm - 2:04pm EDT
LocationDigital Health
The purpose of this scoping review was to identify the factors affecting online health communication among qualitative and quantitative studies utilizing different types of social media platforms to assess the topic of breast cancer.
The review was conducted using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis extension for scoping review (PRISMA-ScR) guidelines and the PRISMA-ScR checklist. The search was restricted to PubMed Central, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library databases to extract research articles published in English between January 2010 to May 2020. We focused on the articles that reported, discussed, or addressed outcomes on the topic of breast cancer using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, Quora, and Yahoo. Qualitative as well as quantitative studies were included in the review.
Thirty-eight eligible studies were identified and summarized based on four themes. The four themes were, Raising Awareness (14), Social support (7), Reliability (5), Others (12).
Promoting credible information to a community that results in a change in behavior and attitude in the people generally bringing about positive changes among the public could be seen as a top-down approach to define Raising Awareness. Our study classified 14 publications under the raising awareness theme. The studies in this theme were focused on creating awareness of breast cancer through social media. Some studies discussed patients sharing their personal experiences, screening information, and treatment messages to other breast cancer patients. [n=7] Other studies focused on breast cancer patient education [n=1] using focus groups[n=1], organizing awareness campaign and fund raising[n=2], creating online groups for doctors for patient education [n=1] and spreading breast cancer information in general [n=2]. Social support could be defined as providing individuals feedback about themselves, giving them a sense of cognitive guidance, information, and emotional sustenance in a time of need. Our study identified 7 publications on this theme. The studies in this theme focused on the use of social media for support. Some studies discussed different types of support such as reassuring, self-management, informational, general advice, emotional, resource, and emphatic support for breast cancer patients [n=3].
In contrast, some discussed the characteristics of available social support [n=1] One of the studies also showed support quality which was addressed as low effort and ill-fitting [n=1]. In contrast, the other was focused on general support available for young and adult breast cancer patients on social media [n=2]. Reliability refers to the end-users trust and concerns regarding the information received which could be a combination of quality of information or technical disparities. Our study found 5 studies under this theme. Some studies raised concerns on the credibility, testing, and monitoring of online informational videos [n=2] some focused on the privacy issues on sharing of personal information on social media groups [n=1]. A few of the studies also showed the quality of information shared where messages were reported to be threatening and misleading to potential miscommunication among the patients [n=2]. The studies identified under the other theme did not match the rest of the themes or depicted results that would simultaneously fit two themes. Our study identified 12 publications that fit into this theme. In this theme, some articles expressed the overall sentiment of the users on breast cancer topics like screening, prevention, use of online groups on various social media websites [n=5]. One of the studies expressed the theme of social support on online forums and showed concerns regarding privacy, information credibility and quality of information shared which were a part of the reliability theme [n=1]]. One of the studies showed patterns in information flow among breast cancer communities [n=1] whereas some of the studies focused on the recruitment strategies of young women with cancer in research studies [n=1]. In some studies, the authors identified various types of trends in areas that have access to cancer centers and the engagement of people in those areas on social media [n=1]. One of the studies showed the discussion of people on 40 years of age is recommended for screening of breast cancer [n=1] while other studies discussed the commonly used terms in breast cancer and trends in reacting to news stories in breast cancer on social media while other studies discussed the commonly used terms in breast cancer and trends in reacting to news stories in breast cancer on social media [n=2]. We also addressed the countries that have published most of the publications namely (United States of America (25), United Kingdom (2), Turkey (1), Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (1), Greece (1), France (3), Canada (4), Australia (1)). Our study also reported the people's sentiment scores regarding various topics in breast cancer using social media.
The study conducted by {Allen, 2020} shows the communication trend about hereditary breast and ovarian cancer on Twitter. The study collected 63770 tweets of which 70.3% of the tweets had a neutral sentiment which included informational tweets, opinions, and testimonials. Another study conducted by {Hale, 2018} shows types of support on 69 YouTube cancer vlogs and 869 comments. 70.6% of the videos showed positive support which was classified as a reassuring and empathic type of support whereas 30% of the videos were neutral and provided cancer information. The study from {Klippert, 2019} assessed the engagement level in a mammography campaign on Facebook using a survey of 48503 users and found that 82% of the rural audience had a positive engagement in the campaign where the participants indicated the will to get a mammogram in the next year while 45% of the respondents were neutral about using Facebook to get information on breast cancer screening or mammograms. The study by {Metwally, 2017} shows public sentiment towards medical interventions used for cancer screening using Twitter such as mammography which had a neutral sentiment among 88.64% of the tweets. Similarly, a seven-month study by {Wong, 2016} also shows the sentiment around breast cancer screening in the United States using Twitter, where 51.28% of the tweets had a neutral sentiment whereas 38.05% of the tweets have a positive sentiment. Another survey study on Twitter from {Squiers, 2011} shows the public response over the US preventive task force's recommendation on mammography screening where 48.8% of the public showed a neutral sentiment, 36.6% of the people were unsupportive of the recommendations. The communication over radiation risk associated with X-ray mammography was shown by {Seimenis, 2018} using Twitter where 42% of the tweets were favorable tweets that were mostly from organizations and companies whereas 26% of the tweets were unfavorable tweets that expressed concerns over radiation and these tweets were from individuals. The survey of 183 participants from {Attai, 2015} assesses the effectiveness of Twitter in breast cancer patient education, support, and decreasing anxiety levels. 63.4% of the participants had a positive sentiment of increased knowledge and understanding of breast cancer after tweet chat participation whereas 28.1 % of participants also reported decreased anxiety level after tweet chat participation.
The scoping review indicated that online health communication on social media can be improved by increasing the level of Reliability in online support groups, having a standardized sample size for social media interactions, and considering language complexities to carry out large-scale sentiment analyses. These considerations may help build a secure environment among breast cancer patients that can be trusted and used for better treatment and post-treatment support for the patients. Future work in this field is needed to enhance the patient experience online, which would help in the seamless use of social media for online health communication.