Introduction/Background The use of social media to raise awareness of gynaecological cancer is increasingly more common. Moreover, women use social media channels to share their stories and experiences of diagnosis, treatment, and survival. Influencers are using platforms such as Instagram for inspiration, motivation, and education. However, the literature on the use and engagement on Instagram to raise awareness for gynaecological cancers, particularly, vulval cancer is still lacking. In this descriptive analysis, we aim to identify the volume and themes of posts on Instagram relating to vulval cancer.
Methodology We identified the volume of posts related to specific hashtags by using the Instagram search feature. We analysed results from the following hashtags from October 2010 to May 5th, 2023: #vulvarcancer, #vulvalcancer, #vulvarcancerawareness, and #vulvalcancerawareness. The top two posts were then classified and analysed by theme using the Instagram algorithm. If posts received comments, a word cloud was generated to identify the most commonly used words.
Results We identified a total of 20756 posts relating to the above-mentioned hashtags. The top two posts received 11 and 23 likes, respectively, and a total of 3 comments. The central theme of the posts was sharing the patient‘s journey through treatment and general education on vulval cancer. There were not enough posts to generate a word cloud.
Conclusion Considering that Instagram has over one billion active users per month, the number of posts and the interaction and content are disappointingly low. In an era of digitalisation, powerful platforms such as Instagram provide enormous potential and a vast outreach to raise awareness and build communities for women with vulval cancer. Although there is a growing trend to use Instagram for this purpose, this should form an integral part in the patient‘s journey.
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