The Spatial Distribution of Health Narratives in Twitter and the Relationship to Corresponding Cancer Rates Across the United States: A Case Study of Cancer-related Communications



Novak, David A Jr

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) and Movember health campaigns in Twitter from the years 2015 and 2016 were studied to understand how tweets formed around these campaigns relate to cancer incidence ground truth data. Geolocated tweets were collected to characterize the spatial distribution at the state level of breast and prostate cancer related tweets, and comparisons were made between tweets and cancer incidence data to assess the relationship between tweet rate and state cancer incidence rates in the United States. It was hypothesized that states which participate the most in these cancer campaigns would exhibit higher cancer incidence rates; contrariwise, there was no correlation found between tweet rate and state cancer incidence rate for all four campaigns studied, indicating that these two variables did not exhibit a relationship in this study. A better understanding of health campaign participation and the relationship to cancer affected populations in Twitter can assist health professionals determine the effectiveness and impacts of health campaigns in Twitter.



Social media, Health campaigns, Geoinformatics, Health awareness, Geographic information systems