Understanding Melanoma Talk on Twitter: The Lessons Learned and Missed Opportunities

Basma T Gomaa, Eric R. Walsh-Buhi, Russell J. Funk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Melanoma is the third most common cause of cancer and the deadliest form of skin cancer among 17–39 year-olds in the United States. Melanoma is a critical public health issue with a substantial economic burden. Cases and associated burdens, however, could be prevented with a greater awareness of, and interventions related to, skin cancer and melanoma-related preventive behaviors. In fact, as social media use is close to ubiquitous, it represents a potential communication modality. However, more research is needed to understand the current state of melanoma-related information exchanged between Twitter users. This study aimed to understand the different types of users controlling the melanoma-related information diffusion and conversation themes on Twitter. Methods: Tweets (n = 692) were imported from Twitter between 1 and 31 May 2021 using the Twitter public API; and uploaded to NodeXL to conduct a social network analysis. Results: Health professionals and organizations with medical backgrounds were the main content producers, disseminators, and top influencers. However, information diffusion is slow and uneven among users. Additionally, conversations lacked a focus on preventive behaviors. Conclusion: Twitter is a potential platform for the targeted outreach of individuals in melanoma awareness campaigns. This study provides insights maximizing the effectiveness of Twitter as a communication modality. Our findings can help guide the development of customized content and interventions during melanoma awareness campaigns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number11284
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors.


  • melanoma
  • public health
  • social media
  • social network analysis
  • twitter

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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