Study Reveals Breast Cancer is Most Talked-About Cancer by UK Doctors in Public Social Media

A CREATION Press Release
  • Breast cancer is topic of 51% of doctors’ posts across five most common cancers in past year
  • NHS budgetary concerns about cancer care is the most discussed topic in study

LONDON, May 16, 2014 — Breast cancer was the cancer talked about most by doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and consultants in the UK on public social media over the past year, according to new research by Creation Healthcare.

The study, carried out using Creation Pinpoint, analysed all mentions of oncology made by UK healthcare professionals on public social media (19,000) over a year. Of those, 5,842 posts related specifically to the five most common types of cancer in the UK: breast, bowel, skin, prostate, and lung. Breast cancer was raised in more than 3,000 posts with prostate cancer mentioned in nearly 1,000.

The data from the posts on breast cancer showed key topics were:

  • Breast cancer screening including calls for more personalised screening depending on a woman’s individual risk factors and the pros and cons of screening in symptom-free women. Lack of awareness of the disease in men.
  • Widespread support for NICE’s recommendation of Tamoxifen in June 2013 for the prevention of breast cancer in women with a family history of the disease.
  • The risk of breast cancer including dietary changes and physical activity reducing risk.

The study showed that the most discussed topic connected with cancer was the NHS with healthcare professionals mentioning it more than 1,400 times. The top three concerns were:

  • Financial/budgetary

68% of NHS-related posts, including concerns about hospitals and cancer centres being closed due to lack of funds, profits being put before patients and drug pricing structures.

  • Staffing

21% of NHS-related posts, including concerns about GP staffing levels for out-of-hours services and the difficulties faced by GPs coming back after a career break.

  • Quality of care

11% of NHS-related posts, including rising waiting times for cancer treatment, the difference between the care of elderly patients and middle-aged patients and support from doctors for the level of care supplied by the NHS.

Creation Healthcare Chief Executive Officer, Daniel Ghinn, said: “Doctors are increasingly using public social media to consider health policy, share medical knowledge and discuss treatments. Our oncology study has isolated the views of healthcare professionals from all the other chatter about health on the internet. The data gives a comprehensive overview of which cancers have been most talked about by healthcare professionals over the past year, what particularly interests them in oncology, as well as the main concerns and worries that they have about the NHS and how this is affecting patient care.”


Notes to Editors:

Research Data:

The study was carried out between 28 March 2013 and 28 March 2014. All statistics are based on data in Creation Pinpoint® which studies more than 100,000 publicly available healthcare professional social media profiles worldwide, including more than 75,000 on Twitter. Creation Pinpoint® is the world’s first monitoring tool for analysing the views of healthcare professionals in public social media.

About Creation Healthcare:

Creation Healthcare is the research and training consultancy to the healthcare industry for the digital age, advising the world’s largest pharmaceutical and healthcare organisations. Established in 1998, the company has been at the forefront of innovation in healthcare engagement for sixteen years with a global consultant team spanning 20 countries.  Creation Healthcare’s headquarters are in London, United Kingdom.  www.creationhealthcare.com.