An Analysis of Widely Viewed YouTube Videos on Anal Cancer

Corey H. Basch, Aleksandar Kecojevic, Alyssa Berdnik, Valerie Cadorett, Charles E. Basch


Background: Rates of anal squamous cell carcinoma have increased over recent decades. The aim of this study was to describe characteristics of widely viewed YouTube videos about anal cancer.
Methods: A total of 57 videos were identifed and reviewed. Videos were assessed and coded with respect to date uploaded, upload source, gender of presenter, number of views, length in minutes, number of likes and dislikes, and selected aspects of content. Each video was assessed to determine if the sole purpose of the video was to provide information regarding anal cancer or existed to serve another purpose. Content related to anal cancer was categorized.

Results: The mean number of views was 23,548 (range 1014–440,078), and the average length of videos was 8:14 min. The upload source of 57 videos was 19 (33.3%) by consumers, 12 (21.1%) by professional, and 26 (45.6%) by news‑based sources. More than half (n = 30; 52.6%) had the sole purpose of providing information. The most frequently mentioned topics were treatment (n = 25, 43.9%), symptoms (n = 15, 26.3%),
encouraging screening, human papillomavirus, and pain, respectively (n = 14, 26.4% for each); only 6 of the 57 videos (10.5%) specifcally mentioned prevention. None of 57 most widely viewed videos were uploaded by any agency of the U.S. Public Health Service or by any other U.S. governmental agency.

Conclusions: It is important for health practitioners to be aware of the type of information available for their patients on the YouTube platform.

Keywords: Anal cancer, communication, social media, YouTube

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