Review Article | Published:

Prostate cancer and social media

Nature Reviews Urologyvolume 15pages422429 (2018) | Download Citation

Abstract

The use of social media is increasing globally and is employed in a variety of ways in the prostate cancer community. In addition to their use in research, advocacy, and awareness campaigns, social media offer vast opportunities for education and networking for patients with prostate cancer and health-care professionals, and many educational resources and support networks are available to patients with prostate cancer and their caregivers. Despite the considerable potential for social media to be employed in the field of prostate cancer, concerns remain — particularly regarding the maintenance of patient confidentiality, variable information quality, and possible financial conflicts of interest. A number of professional societies have, therefore, issued guidance regarding social media use in medicine. Social media are used extensively in other cancer communities, particularly among patients with breast cancer, and both the quantity and type of information available are expected to grow in the future.

Key points

  • Social media are employed in various ways in the prostate cancer community, including research, advocacy, education, networking for patients and health-care professionals, and support for patients and their caregivers.

  • Although the use of social media, especially Twitter, in the prostate cancer community has been steadily increasing, it still lags behind the use in other cancers, especially breast cancer.

  • Most major medical meetings now have their own hashtag, and standardized hashtags have also been created for particular disease states through the Urology Tag Ontology Project.

  • Online journal clubs hosted on Twitter enable real-time discussion of new research and sharing of information and experiences regardless of geographical location and time zone.

  • A number of concerns remain regarding social media use, particularly around maintenance of patient confidentiality, variable information quality, and possible financial conflicts of interest.

  • Some institutions or departments have specific restrictions or policies on social media to encourage professional and appropriate use, and guidelines for proper use of social media have been produced by professional societies including the American Urological Association and European Association of Urology.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

Additional information

Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Altmetric: https://www.altmetric.com/

Doximity: https://www.doximity.com/

Sermo: www.sermo.com

UrologyQbyYURO: https://twitter.com/UrologyQuizYURO

References

  1. 1.

    Pew Research Center. Social Media Fact Sheet. Pew Research Center http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheet/social-media/ (2018).

  2. 2.

    Borgmann, H. et al. Qualitative Twitter analysis of participants, tweet strategies, and tweet content at a major urologic conference. Can. Urol. Assoc. J. 10, 39–44 (2016).

  3. 3.

    Wilkinson, S. E., Basto, M. Y., Perovic, G., Lawrentschuk, N. & Murphy, D. G. The social media revolution is changing the conference experience: analytics and trends from eight international meetings. BJU Int. 115, 839–846 (2015).

  4. 4.

    Cohen, D. et al. #InSituPathologists: how the #USCAP2015 meeting went viral on Twitter and founded the social media movement for the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology. Mod. Pathol. 30, 160–168 (2017).

  5. 5.

    Loeb, S., Catto, J. & Kutikov, A. Social media offers unprecedented opportunities for vibrant exchange of professional ideas across continents. Eur. Urol. 66, 118–119 (2014).

  6. 6.

    Fuller, M. Y. & Allen, T. C. Let’s have a tweetup: the case for using Twitter professionally. Arch. Pathol. Lab. Med. 140, 956–957 (2016).

  7. 7.

    Katz, M. S. et al. Disease-specific hashtags for online communication about cancer care. JAMA Oncol. 2, 392–394 (2016).

  8. 8.

    Kutikov, A., Woo, H. H. & Catto, J. W. Urology Tag Ontology Project: standardizing social media communication descriptors. Eur. Urol. 69, 183–185 (2016).

  9. 9.

    Loeb, S. et al. Novel use of Twitter to disseminate and evaluate adherence to clinical guidelines by the European Association of Urology. BJU Int. 119, 820–822 (2017).

  10. 10.

    Sternberg, K. M., Loeb, S. L., Canes, D., Donnelly, L. & Tsai, M. H. The use of Twitter to facilitate sharing of clinical expertise in urology. J. Am. Med. Inform. Assoc. 25, 183–186 (2018).

  11. 11.

    Borgmann, H., DeWitt, S., Tsaur, I., Haferkamp, A. & Loeb, S. Novel survey disseminated through Twitter supports its utility for networking, disseminating research, advocacy, clinical practice and other professional goals. Can. Urol. Assoc. J. 9, E713–E717 (2015).

  12. 12.

    Cabrera, D. Mayo clinic includes social media scholarship activities in academic advancement. Mayo Clinic Social Media Network https://socialmedia.mayoclinic.org/2016/05/25/mayo-clinic-includes-social-media-scholarship-activities-in-academic-advancement/ (2016).

  13. 13.

    Cleveland Clinic. Social media policy. Cleveland Clinic https://my.clevelandclinic.org/about/website/social-media (2018).

  14. 14.

    Murphy, D. G. et al. Engaging responsibly with social media: the BJUI guidelines. BJU Int. 114, 9–11 (2014).

  15. 15.

    American Urological Association. Social media best practices. AUA http://auanet.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=20294 (2017).

  16. 16.

    Roupret, M. et al. European Association of Urology (@Uroweb) recommendations on the appropriate use of social media. Eur. Urol. 66, 628–632 (2014).

  17. 17.

    Dizon, D. S. et al. Practical guidance: the use of social media in oncology practice. J. Oncol. Practice 8, e114–e124 (2012).

  18. 18.

    Koo, K., Ficko, Z. & Gormley, E. A. Unprofessional content on Facebook accounts of US urology residency graduates. BJU Int. 119, 955–960 (2017).

  19. 19.

    Chretien, K. C., Azar, J. & Kind, T. Physicians on Twitter. JAMA 305, 566–568 (2011).

  20. 20.

    Salem, J. et al. New media for educating urology residents: an interview study in Canada and Germany. J. Surg. Educ. 74, 495–502 (2017).

  21. 21.

    Topf, J. M. et al. The evolution of the journal club: from osler to Twitter. Am. J. Kidney Dis. 69, 827–836 (2017).

  22. 22.

    Thangasamy, I. A. et al. International Urology Journal Club via Twitter: 12-month experience. Eur. Urol 66, 112–117 (2014).

  23. 23.

    Linton, K. D. & Woo, H. H. Twitter International Urology Journal Club. Complications of prostate cancer treatment. Lancet Oncol. 15, e150–e151 (2014).

  24. 24.

    Husain, Z. A., Mancini, B. R., Periera, I., Knoll, M. A. & Katz, M. S. Initial experience with #radonc: an international online monthly radiation oncology journal club. Int. J. Radiat. Oncol. Biol. Phys. 93, E374–E375 (2015).

  25. 25.

    Bois, M. C. & Maleszewski, J. J. Virtual journal club: an example of the growing importance of social media in pathology. Cardiovasc. Pathol. 32, 30–31 (2018).

  26. 26.

    Goyal, A., Tanveer, N. & Sharma, P. WhatsApp for teaching pathology postgraduates: a pilot study. J. Pathol. Inform 8, 6 (2017).

  27. 27.

    Simons, J. W. Prostate cancer immunotherapy: beyond immunity to curability. Cancer Immunol. Res. 2, 1034–1043 (2014).

  28. 28.

    O’Shaughnessy, P. K., Ireland, C., Pelentsov, L., Thomas, L. A. & Esterman, A. J. Impaired sexual function and prostate cancer: a mixed method investigation into the experiences of men and their partners. J. Clin. Nurs. 22, 3492–3502 (2013).

  29. 29.

    Rot, I., Ogah, I. & Wassersug, R. J. Knowledge of reproductive system cancers, their treatments and side effects. J. Cancer Educ. 27, 559–565 (2012).

  30. 30.

    Crannell, W. C., Clark, E., Jones, C., James, T. A. & Moore, J. A pattern-matched Twitter analysis of US cancer-patient sentiments. J. Surg. Res. 206, 536–542 (2016).

  31. 31.

    Dal Moro, F. Online survey on twitter: a urological experience. J. Med. Internet Res. 15, e238 (2013).

  32. 32.

    Maguire, R. et al. The eSMART study protocol: a randomised controlled trial to evaluate electronic symptom management using the advanced symptom management system (ASyMS) remote technology for patients with cancer. BMJ Open 7, e015016 (2017).

  33. 33.

    Vicente, C., Maartens, A. & Brown, K. The node and beyond — using social media in cell and developmental biology. Semin. Cell Dev. Biol. 70, 90–97 (2017).

  34. 34.

    Murphy, D. It’s not about the machine, stupid. BJU Int. http://www.bjuinternational.com/bjui-blog/its-not-about-the-machine-stupid/ (2016).

  35. 35.

    O’Connor, E. M., Nason, G. J., O’Kelly, F., Manecksha, R. P. & Loeb, S. Newsworthiness vs scientific impact: are the most highly cited urology papers the most widely disseminated in the media? BJU Int. 120, 441–454 (2017).

  36. 36.

    Bender, J. L., Cyr, A. B., Arbuckle, L. & Ferris, L. E. Ethics and privacy implications of using the internet and social media to recruit participants for health research: a privacy-by-design framework for online recruitment. J. Med. Internet Res. 19, e104 (2017).

  37. 37.

    Borgmann, H. et al. Activity, content, contributors, and influencers of the twitter discussion on urologic oncology. Urol. Oncol. 34, 377–383 (2016).

  38. 38.

    Loeb, S. et al. Tweet this: how advocacy for breast and prostate cancers stacks up on social media. BJU Int. 120, 461–463 (2017).

  39. 39.

    Bravo, C. A. & Hoffman-Goetz, L. Social media and men’s health: a content analysis of Twitter conversations during the 2013 Movember campaigns in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Am. J. Mens Health 11, 1627–1641 (2017).

  40. 40.

    Bravo, C. A. & Hoffman-Goetz, L. Tweeting about prostate and testicular cancers: what are individuals saying in their discussions about the 2013 Movember Canada campaign? J. Cancer Educ. 31, 559–566 (2016).

  41. 41.

    Prabhu, V. et al. Twitter response to the United States Preventive Services Task Force recommendations against screening with prostate specific antigen. BJU Int. 116, 65–71 (2015).

  42. 42.

    Lauckner, C. & Whitten, P. The differential effects of social media sites for promoting cancer risk reduction. J. Cancer Educ. 31, 449–452 (2016).

  43. 43.

    Ekundayo, O. T. & Tataw, D. B. Barriers to prostate cancer prevention and community recommended health education strategies in an urban African American community in Jackson. Mississippi. Soc. Work Publ. Health 28, 520–538 (2013).

  44. 44.

    Turkbey, B. & Rosenkrantz, A. B. Engaging and educating patients in prostate imaging via social media. Abdom. Radiol. 41, 798 (2016).

  45. 45.

    Steinberg, P. L. et al. YouTube as source of prostate cancer information. Urology 75, 619–622 (2010).

  46. 46.

    Basch, C. H., Menafro, A., Mongiovi, J., Hillyer, G. C. & Basch, C. E. A. Content analysis of YouTubeTM videos related to prostate cancer. Am. J. Men’s Health 11, 154–157 (2016).

  47. 47.

    Westerman, M. E. et al. Media reporting of ProtecT: a disconnect in information dissemination? Prostate Cancer Prostat. Dis. 20, 401–406 (2017).

  48. 48.

    Lawrentschuk, N., Daljeet, N., Trottier, G., Crawley, P. & Fleshner, N. E. An analysis of world media reporting of two recent large randomized prospective trials investigating screening for prostate cancer. BJU Int. 108, E190–E195 (2011).

  49. 49.

    Tao, D. L., Boothby, A., McLouth, J. & Prasad, V. Financial conflicts of interest among hematologist-oncologists on Twitter. JAMA Intern. Med. 177, 425–427 (2017).

  50. 50.

    Borgmann, H. et al. Strategy of robotic surgeons to exert public influence through Twitter. Int. J. Med. Robot. 13, e1739 (2017).

  51. 51.

    Seale, C. New directions for critical internet health studies: representing cancer experience on the web. Sociol. Health Illness 27, 515–540 (2005).

  52. 52.

    Wassersug, R. J. & Oliffe, J. L. The social context for psychological distress from iatrogenic gynecomastia with suggestions for its management. J. Sexual Med. 6, 989–1000 (2009).

  53. 53.

    Klemm, P., Hurst, M., Dearholt, S. L. & Trone, S. R. Gender differences on Internet cancer support groups. Computers Nurs. 17, 65–72 (1998).

  54. 54.

    Prostate Cancer InfoLink. What’s on this site (and how to use it). Prostate Cancer InfoLink https://prostatecancerinfolink.net/site-map/whats-on-this-site/ (2014).

  55. 55.

    Quinn, E. M. et al. Who’s talking about breast cancer? Analysis of daily breast cancer posts on the internet. Breast 22, 24–27 (2013).

  56. 56.

    Sugawara, Y. et al. Cancer patients on Twitter: a novel patient community on social media. BMC Res. Notes 5, 699 (2012).

  57. 57.

    Attai, D. J. et al. Twitter social media is an effective tool for breast cancer patient education and support: patient-reported outcomes by survey. J. Med. Internet Res. 17, e188 (2015).

  58. 58.

    Liu, X. & Chen, H. A research framework for pharmacovigilance in health social media: Identification and evaluation of patient adverse drug event reports. J. Biomed. Informat. 58, 268–279 (2015).

  59. 59.

    Bian, J., Topaloglu, U. & Yu, F. in Proceedings of the 2012 international workshop on Smart health and wellbeing 25–32 (ACM, New York, 2012).

  60. 60.

    Basch, E. et al. Overall survival results of a trial assessing patient-reported outcomes for symptom monitoring during routine cancer treatment. JAMA 318, 197–198 (2017).

Download references

Acknowledgements

S.L. is supported by a Young Investigator Award from the Prostate Cancer Foundation and the Blank Family Foundation.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Urology, New York University, New York, NY, USA

    • Stacy Loeb
    • , Nataliya Byrne
    •  & Shannon Ciprut
  2. Department of Population Health, New York University, New York, NY, USA

    • Stacy Loeb
    • , Aisha Langford
    • , Nataliya Byrne
    •  & Shannon Ciprut
  3. Manhattan Veterans Affairs Medical Center, New York, NY, USA

    • Stacy Loeb
    • , Nataliya Byrne
    •  & Shannon Ciprut
  4. Department of Radiation Medicine, Lowell General Hospital, Lowell, MA, USA

    • Matthew S. Katz

Authors

  1. Search for Stacy Loeb in:

  2. Search for Matthew S. Katz in:

  3. Search for Aisha Langford in:

  4. Search for Nataliya Byrne in:

  5. Search for Shannon Ciprut in:

Contributions

All authors researched data for the article and made substantial contributions to discussion of content. S.L. and S.C. wrote the manuscript, and all authors reviewed and edited the manuscript before submission.

Competing interests

S.L. has received honoraria from Astellas and MDxHealth, consulting fees from GE, GenomeDx, and Lilly, and reimbursed travel from Sanofi and Astellas.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Stacy Loeb.

About this article

Publication history

Published

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/s41585-018-0006-0