Digital Health Innovation and Informatics

PV QA 2 - Poster Viewing Q&A 2

MO_17_2633 - Google Search Trends in Oncology and the Impact of Celebrity Cancer Awareness

Monday, October 22
10:45 AM - 12:15 PM
Location: Innovation Hub, Exhibit Hall 3

Google Search Trends in Oncology and the Impact of Celebrity Cancer Awareness
T. Kaleem1, D. Miller2, M. R. Waddle1, W. Stross1, R. C. Miller1, and D. M. Trifiletti3; 1Department of Radiation Oncology, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL, 2Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL, 3Department of Neurosurgery, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL

Purpose/Objective(s): There is widespread public interest when celebrities are diagnosed with cancer. We sought to assess how this interest impacts awareness in prevalent cancers.

Materials/Methods: We reviewed Eleven common cancer- related search terms using Google Trends (Mountain View, CA) between the years 2004-2017 and retrospectively correlated these findings with media or celebrity related events. The Google Trends application was used to obtain the “search volume index” (SVI), defined as the number of searches for a specific term standardized to the total number of searches over that time period. Data were presented in a graphical format. Isolated peaks of greater than 25% from the baseline SVI were identified. Using the date of the peaks, a further search was performed to determine if any event in the media triggered the peak.

Results: “Lung Cancer”, “Pancreas Cancer”, “Endometrial Cancer”, “Cervical Cancer” and “Brain Cancer” & “Gliobastoma” each had the highest peak correspond with a celebrity-related event covered in the media. These search terms displayed several additional isolated peaks, the majority of which could all be correlated with a significant media event (%). The search term “Breast Cancer” consistently had peaked interest during October (breast cancer awareness month). Breast cancer events relating to public figures had little to no relative impact on search volume during this period. None of the other cancer search terms displayed the same cyclical pattern during their respective awareness months. Colon, rectal and prostate cancer demonstrated stable search volume over time, without any isolated peaks.

Conclusion: Internet search activity among English speakers correlated strongly with celebrity cancer events that had media coverage for most general cancer terms. In all cases but “breast cancer,” these events lent to higher search activity compared to campaigns and awareness months. Our study suggests that media coverage of public figures with cancer triggers substantial internet interest in non-breast cancers, more so than traditional efforts to raise awareness.

Author Disclosure: T. Kaleem: None. M.R. Waddle: None. R.C. Miller: Consultant; Tekcapital, Plc, ASTRO, Belluscura Ltd. Stock; Belluscura Ltd, Tekcapital Plc. Stock Options; Belluscura Ltd, Tekcapital Plc. Vice Chair, Board of Trustees; Mayo Clinic Health System - Albert Lea/Austin. Chair, Board of Directors; Belluscura, Ltd. Non-Executive Director; Tekcapital, Plc. D.M. Trifiletti: Member; ARRO.

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