Understanding Breast Cancer Surgery Through Tiktok: an Analysis of Video Content and Viewer Engagement

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Publication Date


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Annals of surgical oncology


BACKGROUND: Breast cancer is the most common cancer in adolescents and young adults. Social media, particularly TikTok, has emerged as a crucial platform for sharing health information in this population. This study aims to characterize breast cancer surgery information on TikTok, focusing on content reliability, viewer reception, and areas for improvement.

METHODS: We queried the search terms "breast cancer surgery," "mastectomy," and "lumpectomy" on TikTok, evaluating the top 50 videos for each. After watching each video, characteristics were recorded including: creator characteristics, video metrics, viewer reception, and video content. Statistical analysis was performed using Spearman's rank correlations and t-tests.

RESULTS: A total of 138 videos were analyzed (excluding 12 duplicates from the initial 150). These videos received 4,895,373 likes and 109,705 comments. The most common content types were storytelling (57%) and education (20%), and the most common creator types were patients (77.3%) and physicians (10.3%). Videos with educational content by physicians were rare (6.5%). Engagement varied on the basis of video length, search terms, and creator characteristics. Overall, viewer comments predominantly expressed support and interest.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study reveals that information on breast cancer surgery is widely shared on TikTok and has high viewer engagement. Factors influencing impact include video length, creator background, and search terms. While social media has democratized information sharing, there is a relative lack of physician creators providing objective and educational content. We highlight opportunities for health professionals to engage in social media as a tool for health education and ensure diverse and reliable healthcare content on these platforms.

PubMed ID



ePub ahead of print