Social media perceptions of surgical cancer care in the era of COVID-19: A global cross-sectional study

Evan J. Keil, Sergio M. Navarro, Hashim Shaikh, Lilian E. Yao, Todd M. Tuttle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


PURPOSE The rapid dissemination of information through social media renders a profound lens to evaluate perceptions of emerging topics, especially in the context of a global pandemic. The primary objective of this cross-sectional study was to elucidate trends on social media in the setting of surgical cancer care affected by the COVID-19 pandemic across the globe. METHODS A public search of Twitter from April 1 to 30, 2020, was conducted, which yielded 996 posts related to COVID-19 and cancer. Two authors (E.J.K. and H.S.) individually reviewed all posts and recorded the post category, engagement, author category, and geographic location. Data were then analyzed through descriptive analyses. Only English-language posts were included, and any noncancer- or non-COVID-related posts were excluded from the analysis. RESULTS A total of 734 unique authors from 26 different countries wrote 996 relevant posts that averaged 12.0 likes, 4.7 retweets, and 0.5 hashtags per post. Only 2.3% (23 of 996) of posts included a video. Authors of the included tweets most frequently were friends and families of patients (183; 18.4%), academic institutions or organizations (182; 18.3%), and physicians (138; 13.9%). Topics of importance were cancellations of surgeries (299; 40.1%), COVID-19 education (211; 121.2%), and research studies (93; 9.3%). The United Kingdom and the United States made up 81.5% of the cohort, followed by Canada (6.6%) and India (2.4%). Of posts where a specific type of surgery was identified (196), the most common type mentioned was breast cancer (50; 25.5%), followed by lung cancer (37; 18.9%) and urologic cancer (22; 11.2%). CONCLUSION This analysis provides insight into the resulting impacts of COVID-19 on the global discussion of surgical cancer care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1306-1311
Number of pages6
JournalJCO Global Oncology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2020

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© 2020 by American Society of Clinical Oncology Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License


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