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BJU Int. 2015 Jul;116(1):65-71. doi: 10.1111/bju.12748. Epub 2015 Mar 25.

Twitter response to the United States Preventive Services Task Force recommendations against screening with prostate-specific antigen.

Author information

1
Department of Urology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA.
2
Department of Population Health, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA.
3
New York University Cancer Institute, New York, NY, USA.
4
Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
5
Department of Urology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN, USA.
6
Department of Veterans Affairs New York Harbor Healthcare System, New York, NY, USA.
7
New York University Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, New York, NY, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine public and media response to the draft (October 2011) and finalised (May 2012) recommendations of the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) against prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing via Twitter, a popular social network with over 200 million active users.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

We used a mixed-methods design to analyse posts on Twitter, known as 'tweets'. Using the search term 'prostate cancer', we archived tweets in the 24-h periods following the release of both the draft and the finalised USPSTF recommendations. We recorded tweet rate per h and developed a coding system to assess the type of user and sentiment expressed in tweets and linked articles.

RESULTS:

After the draft and finalised USPSTF recommendations were released, 2042 and 5357 tweets focused on the USPSTF report, respectively. The tweet rate nearly doubled within 2 h of both announcements. Fewer than 10% of tweets expressed an opinion about screening, and the majority of these were pro-screening during both periods. By contrast, anti-screening articles were tweeted more frequently in both the draft and finalised study periods. Between the draft and the finalised recommendations, the proportion of anti-screening tweets and anti-screening article links increased (P = 0.03 and P < 0.01, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS:

There was increased Twitter activity surrounding the USPSTF draft and finalised recommendations. The percentage of anti-screening tweets and articles appeared to increase, perhaps due to the interval public comment period. Despite this, most tweets did not express an opinion, suggesting a missed opportunity in this important arena for advocacy.

KEYWORDS:

PSA; prostate cancer; screening; social media; task force

PMID:
24661474
PMCID:
PMC4216238
DOI:
10.1111/bju.12748
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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