Breast Cancer on Instagram: A Descriptive Study

Corey H. Basch, Sarah A. MacLean

Abstract


Background: Breast cancer has an impact not only on those who are diagnosed, but also on their social network, creating an even greater need for the availability of reliable information and support.

Methods: The purpose of this study was to document the content of posts on the highly popular social media platform, Instagram. Posts were garnered and analyzed from Instagram using the hashtag #breastcancer. Data were collected at three different points in time in 2018 and were then aggregated.

Results: The most common attributes were highlighting an individual story (n = 76), discussing support for those with breast cancer (n = 75), discussing treatment (n = 55), or promoting an alternative treatment or product (n = 24). Posts that contained images of people were more likely highlight an individual story (P = 0.001) and discuss treatment (P = 0.046).

Conclusions: Future research can focus on best practices for developing breast cancer‑related information on social media.

Keywords: Breast cancer, Instagram, social media


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