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The impact of cancer campaigns in Brazil: a Google Trends analysis

24 Sep 2019
Luiz Fernando Quintanilha, Laumar Neves Souza, Daniel Sanches, Kiyoshi Ferreira Fukutani

It is estimated that more than 600,000 new cases of cancer will be reported in Brazil during the 2018–2019 biennium, especially with regard to prostate, breast, lung and colorectal cancers. Due to the high prevalence, incidence and mortality rates of these diseases, cancer campaigns such as ‘Pink October’ and ‘Blue November’ were strongly promoted in the past decade throughout the country to raise awareness of breast and prostate cancer, respectively. Nevertheless, whether the implementation of these campaigns has been proven efficient is still unknown. In the present study, we analysed the effectiveness of these campaigns on eliciting population online interest for cancer information. The Google Trends database was evaluated for the relative Internet search popularity for the terms ‘breast cancer’ and ‘prostate cancer’ from 2014 to 2019. Aside from some regional differences, we found that there was a high demand for ‘breast cancer’ and, to a lesser extent, ‘prostate cancer’ searches in a seasonal fashion (during October and November, respectively). Despite the worldwide high incidence of lung and colorectal cancers, searches including these keywords did not show increases in any specific period of the year, demonstrating the efficiency of the ‘Pink October’ and ‘Blue November’ campaigns in engaging the interest of the Brazilian population on the subject. These results allow us to infer that campaigns are effective in mobilising the attention of the Brazilian population with regard to breast and prostate cancers, but the practical aspects in reducing incidence and mortality should still be discussed.

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