Use of Google Trends to Examine Interest in Mohs Micrographic Surgery: 2004 to 2016

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Mohs micrographic surgery (MMS) is the gold standard for treatment of high-risk skin cancers. There has been an upward trend in the use of this procedure as demonstrated by data from Medicare and the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey.

OBJECTIVE

To assess interest in MMS among members of the general public as measured by number of online searches, and how that interest has changed over time.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

Google Trends was used to plot interest in search terms including “Mohs surgery,” “basal cell carcinoma,” “squamous cell carcinoma,” “melanoma,” and “skin cancer” from January 1, 2004, to November 30, 2016.

RESULTS

Search interest for the term “Mohs surgery” has steadily increased since 2004 and correlates closely with increased interest for “basal cell carcinoma” (r = 0.82) and “squamous cell carcinoma” (r = 0.85). Search interest in MMS did not correlate well with searches for melanoma (r = −0.15) or skin cancer (r = −0.29).

CONCLUSION

Public interest in MMS has continued to steadily increase in the United States, which may be a reflection of the increasing volume of MMS that is performed.

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