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      #Brachytherapy: Physicians As Influencers on Instagram

      1 , , 2 , 1 , 1 , 3 , 4
      social media, radiation oncology, cervical cancer, brachytherapy, instagram

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          We aimed to evaluate brachytherapy-related posts on Instagram by identifying patient concerns, the content of related posts, and user outreach.

          Methods and materials

          A list of top posts from searching #brachytherapy on May 7, 2021, were generated on a mobile device and all data are representative as of May 7, 2021. Searching for #brachytherapy resulted in 1010 posts which were analyzed using Instagram. The content was categorized by source (physician, patient, hospital, or not otherwise specified), type (education or experiences), disease site (cervical, endometrial, other), and user influence (number of posts, number of followers). Patient posts were specifically analyzed and all captions and hashtags were reviewed.


          The distribution of users with brachytherapy-related posts was as follows: 23% patients, 15% physicians, 9% hospitals, 53% not otherwise specified. Physicians only made up 11% of posts analyzed while the majority, 79%, were from patients and other Instagram users. From the accounts linked to patients, 99% of them were experience-based and 1% were educational. Posts made by physicians were educational in content 66% of the time, with 34% of posts being experiences. The median number of followers from least to greatest were not otherwise specified (NOS) 450.5, patients (501), hospital-affiliated (527), and physicians (608). In gynecological cancer patients, the reported side effects were as follows: fatigue 31%, gastrointestinal (GI) 16%, genitourinary (GU) 16%, pain 28%, and anxiety 50%.


          This study shows the influential power physicians have on social media and the need for increased brachytherapy awareness on platforms such as Instagram. Patients have voiced apprehension to pursue radiation due to lack of information provided and fear of the unknown. With this concern in mind, physicians are responsible to increase the availability of knowledge to patients in a more relaxed environment than the clinic. With increased physician social media presence, patients will have another avenue for support and reliable source of treatment information.

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          Most cited references8

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          Cervical cancer survivorship: long-term quality of life and social support.

          Surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy are the mainstays of cervical cancer treatment. Many patients receive multiple treatment modalities, each with its own long-term effects. Given the high 5-year survival rate for cervical cancer patients, evaluation and improvement of long-term quality of life are essential.
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            Advancements in brachytherapy

            Brachytherapy is a radiotherapy modality associated with a highly focal dose distribution. Brachytherapy treats the cancer tissue from the inside, and the radiation does not travel through healthy tissue to reach the target as with external beam radiotherapy techniques. The nature of brachytherapy makes it attractive for boosting limited size target volumes to very high doses while sparing normal tissues. Significant developments over the last decades have increased the use of 3D image guided procedures with the utilization of CT, MRI, US and PET. This has taken brachytherapy to a new level in terms of controlling dose and demonstrating excellent clinical outcome. Interests in focal, hypofractionated and adaptive treatments are increasing, and brachytherapy has significant potential to develop further in these directions with current and new treatment indications.
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              Dermatology on Instagram: An Analysis of Hashtags.

              Forty-two percent of Americans search for health-related information on social media platforms, and forty-five percent of consumers report that social media health information influences their decision to seek care.

                Author and article information

                Cureus (Palo Alto (CA) )
                23 February 2022
                February 2022
                : 14
                : 2
                [1 ] Radiation Oncology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, USA
                [2 ] Statistics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, USA
                [3 ] Radiation Oncology, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Galveston, USA
                [4 ] Radiation Oncology, Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, USA
                Author notes
                Copyright © 2022, Kesaria et al.

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Medical Education
                Radiation Oncology

                social media,radiation oncology,cervical cancer,brachytherapy,instagram


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