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Tweeting About Prostate and Testicular Cancers: Do Twitter Conversations and the 2013 Movember Canada Campaign Objectives Align?


Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer of the reproductive system in men. Mass media campaigns have long been a tool for raising awareness of important health issues and changing health behavior. The Movember campaign was launched in Canada in 2007 with the goal of creating conversations about men’s health in order to raise awareness and understanding about prostate cancer. In 2012, testicular cancer was added to the Movember Canada campaign agenda. Social networking sites such as Twitter are popular platforms for conversations in the digital age. Our objective was to determine if the Movember Canada 2013 campaign accomplished the goal of creating conversations about prostate and testicular cancers on the social media platform of Twitter. We conducted a content analysis of 4222 Canadian tweets posted during the November 2013 Movember Canada campaign to investigate whether tweets were health-related or non-health-related and to determine what topics of discussion were present in the tweets. There were significantly fewer health-related (n = 673) than non-health-related (n = 3549) tweets (p < 0.05). Few tweets (0.6 % of all tweets) referenced prostate or testicular cancers. Community engagement activities as well as moustache and grooming references were the most frequent topics in the health-related (10.49 and 1.97 %) and non-health-related (32.83 and 32.76 %) categories, which were significantly different by topic (p < 0.05). Findings from Twitter suggest that the Movember Canada 2013 did not meet the stated campaign objective of creating conversations about men’s health and, specifically, about prostate and testicular cancers.

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Research was supported by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (LHG). The authors thank Joslin Goh at the University of Waterloo Statistical Consulting Centre for her guidance in statistical analysis of the Twitter data, as well as the anonymous JCE reviewer for thoughtful and constructive input.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Laurie Hoffman-Goetz.

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Bravo, C.A., Hoffman-Goetz, L. Tweeting About Prostate and Testicular Cancers: Do Twitter Conversations and the 2013 Movember Canada Campaign Objectives Align?. J Canc Educ 31, 236–243 (2016).

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