Who's talking about breast cancer? Analysis of daily breast cancer posts on the internet

Breast. 2013 Feb;22(1):24-7. doi: 10.1016/j.breast.2012.05.001. Epub 2012 Jun 8.


Objective: Breast cancer is the cancer most commonly searched for on the internet. Our aim was to assess daily new breast cancer related posting on the internet.

Methods: We analyzed numbers of new daily posts for common cancers for one month and subsequently analyzed content of 1426 breast cancer related posts. We also assessed use of online discussion forums for breast cancer related dialogue.

Results: Breast related topics had significantly more posts per day compared to others (mean 66.7, p < 0.01). Most posts were on media sites (65.8%). Accuracy levels were high (87.5%) but significantly lower where posted on blogs and discussion forums (p < 0.001). Anonymous posts were common (55%) and less likely to be accurate (p < 0.001). Use of discussion forums has exponentially increased over the last five years (p < 0.001).

Conclusions: The internet has become a primary forum within which health information, particularly relating to breast cancer, is both sought and shared. Increasingly information is provided by patients themselves.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Blogging / standards
  • Blogging / statistics & numerical data
  • Breast Neoplasms*
  • Colonic Neoplasms
  • Consumer Health Information / methods
  • Consumer Health Information / standards
  • Consumer Health Information / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination / methods*
  • Internet / standards
  • Internet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Lung Neoplasms
  • Male
  • Prostatic Neoplasms
  • Rectal Neoplasms
  • Social Media / standards
  • Social Media / statistics & numerical data
  • Social Support*