The objectives of this study were to quantify personal stories about cervical cancer and to determine the proportion and sentiment (positive vs negative) of messages (“tweets”) that discussed cervical cancer prevention strategies on Twitter.Methods
This study was a cross-sectional Twitter review of English-language top tweets about cervical cancer during the Cervical Cancer Awareness month, January 2016. Theme categories were identified, and tweets were independently coded by 2 reviewers; discrepancies in coding were resolved by a third reviewer. Descriptive statistical analyses were performed.Results
During January 2016, approximately 348 top tweets about cervical cancer were identified. Professional health organizations produced 20.7% of tweets, and individuals identifying themselves as health-care professionals contributed an additional 4%. In addition to the tweet, 45.1% attached a photo or video; 54.6% included links to a larger article. Only 11.2% of tweets included personal stories from cervical cancer patients. Among the top tweets, 70.3% were focused on prevention through screening and/or HPV vaccination, with 97.4% recommending such practices. A substantial proportion of the Twitter traffic (24.7%) referenced the #SmearForSmear campaign by the patient-advocate organization Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, based in the United Kingdom.Conclusions
Analysis of top tweets during the cervical cancer awareness month showed that, although personal stories about cervical cancer were rare, cervical cancer prevention was a popular topic during the cervical cancer awareness month. This was largely driven by a picture-based twitter campaign from a single advocacy organization.